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Editorial: Newspapers aren't dead -- here's why

March 5, 2011

Those of us who work in the newspaper industry are frequently asked "how are you doing?"

No, that is not simply a friendly and congenial greeting from a friend, relative or acquaintance. People want to literally know how we are really doing in a business sense.

You see, there have been reports the past couple of years about the death of the newspaper industry. It is a business past its prime in the world of digital information and technology, we have been told.

Well, we're happy to say that our industry's death has been greatly exaggerated. In fact, one online business website, Moneyville, reported last week that the term "dying newspaper industry" will be retired in the next year or two.

The reason? Many newspapers are still profitable, even in these difficult economic times. Readership is at record high levels in the United States and Canada.

Newspapers remain the source of choice by many people for receiving information ranging from local news and business advertising to legal notices and classifieds.

Need proof?

A recent survey conducted by American Opinion Research for the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association revealed some interesting and reassuring results for those of us who work at newspapers. Among their findings:

Some 86 percent of respondents reported regularly reading a daily, weekly or Sunday-only newspaper during an average week. More specifically, 61 percent read a community-based weekly like the Hood River News.

Not all newspaper readers are old, as some would lead you to believe. In fact, this survey revealed that 87 percent of young adults (ages 18 to 39) read a newspaper at some point during the week.

Some 73 percent of respondents said printed newspapers were their top source for local sales and shopping information. Second was the Internet with just 10 percent.

Some 66 percent of respondents said printed newspapers would be their most likely source to access public notices. Government websites were second at 25 percent.

Those are just a few of the highlights.

What does it tell us? Quality newspapers are still valued for the service they provide, be it news, advertising or entertainment. We aren't going the way of the dinosaur anytime soon.

- From Polk County Itemizer-Observer

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