Knight Center
Knight Center


U.S. community newspapers going strong, study shows

Despite being part of an industry challenged by the Internet and facing declining advertising revenue and decreasing circulation, community newspapers are managing to thrive, with 73 percent of those surveyed saying they read the local newspaper at least once a week, according to a year-end report from the National Newspaper Association (NNA).

Working with the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, this was the NNA's fifth survey of readership patterns in smaller communities served by local newspapers with circulations of 8,000 or less.

Other findings from the survey indicate that respondents:
-- spend nearly 38 minutes reading the local newspaper
-- 78 percent read most or all of the local newspaper
-- 62 percent read local news very often in the community newspaper
-- 54 percent said they never read local news online

As Ken Robertson, editor of the community newspaper the Tri-City Herald, wrote, "Maybe the new trend for 2011 will be to go retro — read a newspaper in print."

1 comment

Brian Chorley wrote 7 years 15 weeks ago

What a HUGE Oppotunity for real-time local news!!

This study only shows that there is no competition for the old weekly news model in rural or small populations. Most towns that have papers with less than 8,000 circulation are more than likely rural. Almost no one is producing small town real-time local news; it's all based around the weekly model. Of course small town papers thrive when there is no competition! This also means they have little incentive to go online and create a real-time product. This has to be the biggest opportunity in the news industry today. Create a daily, or real-time, local online product for rural America and these readers will flock to your site. Then you just have to serve the local advertising market with solutions that bring your readership to their businesses. It's simple. The hardest part is getting the advertisers to pull away from the nostalgic weekly paper that has been in the community for over 100 years!
We're working on it at and if anyone needs some advice on the small town market strategy just contact me!
Good Luck!

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