Thursday, February 13, 2014
Readership very strong
The recent Mississippi Press Association Mid-Winter Conference was uplifting and reassuring for this “old-timer.”
The biggest thing I took from the annual event was that community newspapers, who are serving their towns and counties as they should be, remain the primary source of news and advertising in those communities.
Here’s a brief summary of research conducted for MPA by the independent firm of American Opinon Research (AOR).
• Newspapers are the most powerful advertising medium in Mississippi, and they are read by the vast majority of adults.
• Half of all adults read a printed daily or Sunday newspaper during an average week, and 56 percent read a printed newspaper or access a newspaper website.
• Readership of weekly newspapers adds significantly to this reach. Almost seven in 10 (67 percent) read a weekly newspaper during an average month.
• Almost half of all consumers say printed newspapers are their primary source of sales and shopping information. All other sources are very fragmented – local television, which ranks second, is the primary source for only 13 percent of adults.
• In addition, more than half of all consumers (52 percent or more than 1.1 million adults) look at advertising to find out what’s for sale before shopping. And, the primary source for almost six in 10 are printed newspapers.
• Newspapers’ readership in Mississippi is stronger among younger adults (18-34) than we see in most states. More than seven in 10 (72 percent) younger adults access a printed newspaper or a newspaper website weekly.
• Weekly newspapers have a long shelf life. Six in 10 keep their weekly newspaper in their homes three days or more. A third keep their weekly newspaper until the next issue arrives.
• Mississippi weekly newspapers also reach about two readers per copy.
I called myself an “old-timer” earlier because I’ve been involved in the MPA more than 25 years.
I remember those first time of attending conferences. No one knew me. I knew no one.
But fellow newspaper folks from across the state were kind and welcoming. I quickly became one of the crew and developed a wonderful network of good friends.
I later started contributing through committees and then served several years on the MPA board, including a year as president.
Now, at age 52, I go to the meetings and many of the attendees I do not recognize. But at the same time, it’s great to see younger editors, advertising managers and publishers eager to make their marks on the newspaper business in Mississippi.
It was great the weekend of Jan. 31-Feb. 1 to visit with some other fellow “old-timers” whom I’ve grown up with in the business and learned so much from over the years.
It’s wonderful to work at a job that I find fun, exciting and rewarding.
Last week, I was stopped on the street by people thanking me for different stories they’d read in their weekly newspaper, “The South Reporter.” And then I answered the phone twice last week with advertisers calling – re-running their ads because they had gotten such a good response.
Your newspaper is 149 years old and still ticking – thanks to all of you.
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