For years, I have heard that newspapers are dying.
My retort: “Newspapers are not dying. They’re changing.”
A recent media survey proves that point.
The study — conducted by Pulse Research in June 2017 — shows that newspaper media readership in Colorado is not fading out of existence, but in fact, Colorado has one of the strongest newspaper followings in the nation.
For example, 72 percent of Colorado residents responded that they’ve accessed newspaper media in the last week, which is 8 percent higher than the national average (Source: National Newspaper Association).
Nearly 60 percent of Colorado residents said they’ve accessed newspaper media in the last 24 hours.
The numbers clearly display that newspaper media are alive. The survey also shows how Colorado residents access newspapers is changing. One in two Coloradans state they read the paper in print, while three in five are accessing newspaper media in digital form. More than a third of those surveyed said they access newspaper media in print and digital formats.
Mobile looks to have a significant impact on the future of newspaper media. For Generation X and Baby Boomers, print is still the primary way they access newspapers — those with the most disposable income — while mobile is leading the way for Millennials and younger.
How people consume newspapers is changing, but who reads papers is not.
Those identified as newspaper readers are far more interested and engaged in their communities, are more active, and are more likely to spend money — newspaper readers are 135 percent more likely to buy a new car than non-readers. Newspaper readers are also wealthier and more educated, according to the study.
And even non-readers in the study — classified as someone who has not read a print product in the last week — still access newspaper media on a frequent basis, but they do it mostly through mobile devices.
That’s pretty compelling information. And it’s not surprising.
Colorado papers are dedicated to serving their communities. We often call it being the mirror. We show the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly (hopefully without being ugly).
The study was not all good news for newspaper media. While newspaper media remains atop as the most-trusted news and advertising source, it’s clear communities want more focus on watchdog journalism, better and more objective reporting and community leadership.
We know Colorado papers are up to the task, and we at the Colorado Press Association are here to help them and you.
Because, make no mistake, the vitality of newspapers is not simply a business issue. It’s a democracy issue. The vast majority of in-depth reporting happens by newspaper media, and has been that way was since the inception of our Republic.
The biggest difference between when our great country was established and now: Newspaper media have even more ways to tell your community’s stories. And you have more ways to access it.
So, newspapers are not dying. They’re changing. And changing for the better.
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Jerry Raehal is the CEO of Colorado Press Network and the Colorado Press Association.