A recent survey commissioned by the National Newspaper Association (NNA) fortified what we and our readers have known for as long as there has been printed words. Community newspapers provide a valuable service to readers and the communities they serve.

Like many other businesses that serve the public, we don’t make it a habit to tell the world the value of a community newspaper. The truth is we usually don’t remind people enough of what the value of a newspaper is to a community. All readers have to do is thumb through a newspaper and concentrate on the news and advertising that is provided in every issue to realize how important and valuable a newspaper is to a community.

In the NNA survey conducted by a professional firm, 90 percent of readers said their community newspaper keeps them informed. More than 1,000 people responded to the national survey and 73 percent said their hometown newspaper provides valuable shopping and advertising information. In addition, 63 percent of the survey respondents said they read a community newspaper either in print or online. When it comes to advertising, readers are most likely to trust and respond to ads they see in their community newspaper.

According to the survey, community newspapers rate as the most popular advertising medium when it comes to making purchasing and shopping decisions at local merchants. Another valuable information aspect of a newspaper is the public notices. The state treasurer just finished a public notice in newspapers that listed the names of people who are in line for unclaimed property that has been turned over to the treasurer’s office as provided by law. Bid requests by public entities, many probate and circuit court matters require publication of public notices, along with a number of other governmental issues and subjects, including meetings and hearings. 

Photos tell stories often better than words. The Missourian gives great emphasis to photos.

Among the most important news published are death news stories and obituaries. People feature stories recognize individual accomplishments. The sports news is very important to many people. Honor rolls, school menus, court proceedings, crime stories, what the city councils and county commissions are doing, along with what school boards and countless civic and social clubs are doing — the list goes on and on, such as births, weddings and anniversaries, news about servicemen and -women.

It is an accepted fact that people who read newspapers most likely will show up at the polls. Information about candidates for public office is published. Letters to the editor, editorials and commentaries will be found in most community newspapers.

There is value in all the news that will be found in community newspapers. The survey by NNA strengthens our belief that a strong newspaper is vital to a community and its citizens. Operating a newspaper carries with it a great deal of responsibility.