Thank you for reading our newspaper.
For the past several years we have been hearing and reading that newspapers are dying.
No one reads newspapers anymore, according to the conventional wisdom.
Morley Safer, during his “60 Minutes” report earlier this year about the newspaper industry, glibly stated, “The facts of life are that newspapers are folding all over the country. It’s a dying business.”
To that we politely say: Bull manure (there is a better word but we are still a family newspaper)!
That kind of thinking has always been contrary to our experiences at this newspaper. While it’s true some of the large urban dailies are struggling to maintain revenues and subscribers, other newspapers that focus on local news in smaller communities are thriving.
Those kinds of newspapers — which have been around for more than 500 years — survive and even thrive because they work in giving people the kind of news and advertising information that their readers want and need.
There are plenty of national surveys that show that readership of community newspapers is still very strong. A recent study by the National Newspaper Association revealed that 71 percent of the respondents read a community newspaper at least once a week. Another survey by the Newspaper Association of America found that 7 in 10 adults access content from newspaper media each week.
These national survey results got us thinking about how our newspaper is performing in the communities we serve. How would we stack up against the national averages?
So we commissioned the research arm of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism to conduct a readership survey of The Missourian in Franklin County.
A total of 520 randomly selected Franklin County residents completed the 10-minute telephone survey in March and April of this year.
A more detailed story on the survey results can be found elsewhere in this edition. But some of the key findings include:
• Overall, 92.5 percent of Franklin County residents read The Missourian when you combine both print and all digital platforms;
• 85 percent of Franklin County residents read or looked into the newspaper at least once a month;
• 92 percent of readers rated the quality of The Missourian from “good” to “excellent”;
• 94 percent of readers rated accuracy of The Missourian from “good to “excellent”;
• 90 percent of readers rated the trustworthiness of The Missourian from “good” to “excellent”;
• The Missourian is the primary source of information for residents in Franklin County;
• More than half of our readers made a purchase based on advertising in the past 30 days.
The survey results are telling and prove what we knew all along — people do read community newspapers including, and especially, The Missourian. They always have and we believe they always will as long as they inform their readers.
We are proud of the survey results. And we are humbled.
We are especially proud of our staff members who are responsible for these jaw-dropping numbers. We have the most hardworking and talented team of journalists and photographers of any newspaper in the country. They are first-rate and topnotch. Thank you all for the work you do.
And once again, to our readers, thank you for reading us, for writing to us, for commenting on our pieces, sending us letters, telling us what you think we could do better, but also for appreciating what we are doing right.
Thank you as well to our advertisers. We are grateful to you for believing that print and digital journalism as a medium is alive, kicking and unique in its ability to deliver a durable message.
We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge and thank our technical and production staff. There are many thankless tasks in any business, but in ours, the job of the production staff is perhaps the most unacknowledged and underappreciated. The consistently high quality of our printing and production is due to their talents.
We also have hardworking and committed professionals in our circulation, sales and finance departments who keep our newspaper afloat even in choppy water. Our hats are off to you and your critical work.
Kudos as well to our scrappy digital team that has created an accessible, interactive website that has played a huge role in helping us reach new audiences across a variety of ever-changing digital platforms.
Community newspapers understand what it takes to record and reflect the life of a community, day in and day out. We take seriously our commitment and responsibility to understand and report on the communities we serve.
This is the bond that ties a community to its newspaper. Each needs the other. Chances are if you believe in your city or community then you believe in your newspaper.
We also appreciate that if we are to continue to survive and thrive we must build upon our strengths to use all the tools and technologies available to continue to serve the interests of the communities we serve. There is still much to do and improvements to be made.
We never bought into the predicted demise of the newspaper. We know better. Our numbers and our readers tell a different story as evidenced by the results of our readership survey.
To quote Mark Twain, “The report of my death was greatly exaggerated.”
Thanks again for reading our newspaper, and for your cooperation.