Community newspapers your key source for local news

It matters where you get your news

A study released this past week weighed in on the current media landscape in the country, shedding light on the makeup of media and where people get their news.

The study, conducted by a team with the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, explores which types of media outlets are the key producers of journalism in 100 communities across the U.S. It analyzed stories based on if they were original, local, or if they addressed a critical information need.

In the NiemanLab article by Philip Napoli and Jessica Mahone, a summarization of the report stated, “The results show, fairly convincingly, that despite the economic hardships that local newspapers have endured, they remain, by far, the most significant providers of journalism in their communities. And while there is great hope and expectation that newer, online journalism sources will emerge to compensate for the cutbacks and closures affecting local newspapers, our study has shown that this has yet to take place.”

The data illustrates, for example, that local newspapers comprise 25 percent of local media outlets (television, radio, online-only). But, despite newspapers only making up a quarter of media outlets, local newspapers account for 50 percent of the total original news stories in the study’s database.

Likewise, newspapers account for 60 percent of local news stories and 38 percent of stories addressing a critical need. When taking into account all three criteria (original stories, local stories and addressing critical information), one of the study’s key findings shows local newspapers account for nearly 60 percent of the stories that fit all criteria while other media outlet categories each only account for 10 to 15 percent of the stories that meet all three criteria.

“Essentially, local newspapers produced more of the local reporting in the communities we studied than television, radio and online-only outlets combined,” the report summary said.

We share this with you because research shows that it matters where you get your news — the source of your news matters.

We are grateful you support our local journalism efforts and subscribe to the newspaper. Readers like you help us continue our efforts to generate original local news coverage in our community. Without your support of local newspapers like us, many communities would be significantly less informed about crucial events happening in their own backyards.

We urge you, your family and friends, and local businesses, to continue to support local journalism because local newspapers remain incredibly relevant amid our ever-changing world. The viability of papers across the country requires the investment and support of their communities in order to continue work that surpasses all other media outlets.

This editorial was published recently in the Vallejo, Calif., Times-Herald newspaper.