During National Newspaper Week, October 1 to 7, we feel obliged to toot our own horns and remind everyone of the importance of the media, and particularly community newspapers, such as The Glengarry News.
But first, we must thank the many people who have made it possible for The News to continue to serve our community for the past 126 years. Obviously, without readers and advertisers, The News would have by now joined the long list of publications that have succumbed to the media revolution. Although some have dismissed conventional papers as being “dinosaurs,” many fine periodicals across this country continue to report the “real news” and stave off extinction.
“The role of newspapers has never been so crucial,” said Bob Cox, chair of the board of directors of News Media Canada, the national association that represents Canadian newspapers. “Every day, newspapers work to bring Canadians from coast to coast to coast real, trusted, truthful news – which is as vital to democracy as clean air, safe streets, good schools and public health.”
We are a confused lot. A study last year found that 63 per cent of Canadians were unable to distinguish between legitimate news websites and fake news stories, and 65 per cent of Canadians are worried that false information or fake news is being used as a weapon.
National Newspaper Week, with the theme “Newspapers matter,” is especially poignant this year as it arrives in the midst of municipal council and school board election campaigns in Ontario.
Facebook and Google have not, to the best of our knowledge, dispatched reporters to cover all-candidates meetings or try to explain the platforms of those who would represent us in local government for the next four years.
Nine in ten Canadians read newspapers each week across Canada, on different platforms at different times of day. Local newspapers are a trusted source of information in communities across Canada and continue to be the preferred source for local information, with a preference for the printed product, according to a study that was conducted on behalf of the newspaper industry with funding from the federal government.
The main reason for reading local papers continues to be something that can be hard to find anywhere else: Local information, in various forms. Another important finding was that print works for advertisers. Advertising is the biggest source of revenues for most publications. After local information, half of community newspaper readers read the paper for the ads. Print newspaper ads are effective at driving awareness, store visits and purchases.
The study notes that on a daily basis Canadians are surrounded by media, bombarded by thousands of brand messages on an increasing number of traditional and digital platforms. Digital interactions in a single “Internet Minute” are mind-boggling.
People don’t want to see ads in social media, which is used primarily to communicate with friends and share stories, photos and videos. As a result, more than half of Canadians (53%) respond to digital advertising with ad blockers, primarily on computers and to a lesser degree on tablets and phones.
The key factor is trust. Data on trust in various ad formats reinforces that newspapers top the most trusted list and social media and mobile ads are among the least trusted. It is therefore not surprising that ads in newspapers, printed and digital, are the most read across multiple categories, including automotive, financial products, real estate, telecommunications and travel.
Local newspapers continue to provide a trusted source for local news and information to Canadians in communities across our country. Reporters, editors and publishers tirelessly produce local content that is relevant and critical to their communities. In many cases, community newspapers are the only source of this local information. This is why newspapers matter.
So there you have our pitch. If the trust and news factors don’t impress you, consider the fact that the conventional paper version of this product is portable, environmentally-friendly and versatile. You can use this paper to swat flies, control weeds, clean udders, line cages, cover windshields, make hats, start fires, fashion crafts. And, if you have no other secondary uses for this rag, please recycle this “dinosaur” after reading.
– Richard Mahoney