Over the past 15 years, the way readers get their news has changed significantly. Gone are the days when people have to wait for the print edition to hit the newsstands to find out what is happening in their communities.
At The Central Virginian, not only do we produce a weekly print edition, but we post articles and breaking news on our website and Facebook page, and we use Twitter and a text messaging system to make sure that readers stay informed seven days a week.
While traditional print newspaper remains an important component of news consumption, there have been some assumptions made as the younger generation, those raised on smart phones and wifi access, begin to be consumers of the news.
One of the key assumptions is that Millennials are avoiding newspapers altogether and turning to online aggregators to get their news. Ignoring the fact that many of the aggregators are using newspaper content, the Newspaper Association of America has recently released the results of a study that debunks even the base assumption that Millennials have turned their backs on newspapers.
In fact, even though they may be accessing news content in new, digitally enhanced ways, a majority of young adults say they still want their daily newspaper as part of their lives.
The results of the study are heartening to hear, as it gives a true picture of how the younger generation is tapping into the many different ways that we as newspapers are using to try to reach our audiences in a new digital era.
Community newspapers remain a vital tool for both advertisers and readers who want to stay informed.
Newspapers still offer information about their communities that can’t be found anywhere else. They still serve a vital role in their community, and the mobile age isn’t changing that.
The NAA study shows that as newspapers develop content for both web and mobile devices, Millennials are finding it, reading it and sharing it with their friends.
One of the key results revealed in the NAA graphic is that 72 percent of Millennials prefer to be the source of information among their peers rather than hearing about news from a friend. The NAA shows that across all newspaper platforms, 40 million Millennials still get news and information from a newspaper on at least a weekly basis.
As others who serve in the news industry tend to agree, this is a changing time and newspapers have not been aggressive enough in communicating the multiple methods that they use to reach a broader audience of news consumers, including Millennials.
The truth is Millennials want their newspaper content and advertising, and they trust the newspaper to deliver that content accurately and ethically. The numbers are backed up by not only the NAA, but a plethora of fact checkers.
To see more from the NAA study, see pages A-6 and B-8 of today’s issue or click here.