Editorial: Newspapers remain a valuable asset
Over 100 million readers across the country pick up newspapers each and every day, whether to check scores from last night's games, keep up on the latest economic news, check the classifieds, or catch up on top stories. When it comes to local news, there's no better source than the local newspaper. In some cases, there is no other source at all.
As the nation celebrates National Newspaper Week Oct. 4-10, the very face of news is changing, but not as drastically as one might think. Print editions are, and continue to be, a popular form for those seeking their news. Online news continues to gain in popularity, but many seek their news from a trusted provider, namely the same group who produce the printed material they have read since before the birth of the Internet. Like a person's favorite barber or hair stylist, many seek their news from a single, trusted source.
Credible news sources, in this world of Facebook, MySpace and other quick-read sites, are as important as ever. But there can be no doubt the Internet has brought a great deal of change to the news industry.
When it comes to news gathering, print journalists - those folks who hit the pavement each and every day seeking stories, continue to be the primary source for stories. Other forms of media, including the Web and television news, still seek many of their stories from printed newspapers. Unlike 20 years ago, however, that printed content is thrown onto the Web at the same time it appears on paper, making it easier for larger media outlets to shop around for stories without getting their hands on the printed product. But the product, that direct line to trusted, reliable news, remains the same.
While many newspapers are suffering from a combination of threats, including a limp economy and increased traffic to online news sites, others have risen to the challenge by embracing modern technology and blending it with their printed product. Newspapers often direct readers to their Web site within the printed page. Other news outlets find news not covered by larger markets, creating a niche not found anywhere else. Weekly newspapers have fared far better than daily newspapers, in that many offer original news not covered by dailies or national news agencies.
For weeklies, the printed page is still king, particularly in rural areas, where many choose traditional news sources over online Web surfing.