Digital Newspapers Growing in Popularity, Local Papers Need to Follow Suit

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Industry experts have been predicting the death of newspapers ever since the birth of televised news. Those predictions only became louder with the explosion of online and tablet-based newspapers. But an article by Laura Hazard Owen for demonstrates that digital editions have seen exponential grown while print is far from gone, but that the small-town newspaper is going to have to work to keep up.

According to Owen, “The NAA-Nielsen study surveyed 5,000 adults on ’11 different metrics for engagement, including trust and ethics, how connected media makes people feel, the value or inspiration it adds to life, and the effectiveness of advertising.’ On that measure, print and online newspapers came out on top.”

One other key piece of data from the Newspaper Association of America survey was the print advertising in newspapers was still very important to consumers, with print newspapers and digital newspapers scoring higher than any other form of advertising for effectiveness and for consumer sentiment that the ad would actually translate into sales.

But if newspaper advertising is more effective, why are newspapers losing billions of dollars a year in advertising revenue? That, coupled with a drop in print subscriptions as more readers turn to app-based national news, may have caused a lack of confidence in newspaper advertising by companies who don’t know that consumers still put a measure of trust in newspaper ads.

The survey results, along with other data, have shown that the publishers who still print newspapers understand the need to move to mobile devices. With more and more national newspapers making at least a digital edition in addition to their print, if not exploring going wholly digital, the progression to handheld devices is promising. The smaller, locally-owned newspapers need to follow the digital lead with web-based and apps for reaching their subscribers and their advertisers.

Mercy Pilkington (1982 Posts)

is a Senior Editor for Good e-Reader. She is also the CEO and founder of a hybrid publishing and consulting company.

  • Jason Hills

    Whether it`s digital or newsprint, the advertising is exactly the same in both versions for my local paper. There is no attempt to customize ads to my particular wants or needs. I`m pretty much immune to vehicle marketing (which always makes up the overwhelming bulk of it all) as I can only afford to buy one once every 7 years or so. lol Digital papers need to get to know their individual subscribers better and tailor the ads. I`m guessing questionaires (opt in or out of, of course) would help.