Americans historically have had a long love affair with their newspapers because they are uniquely relevant in that they can serve as government watchdogs, promote community events, publish timely public notices and document history.
A month ago, Oct. 1-7 to be exact, was National Newspaper Week, a time to recognize and promote the importance of the newspaper industry throughout the nation. That’s all well and good but I believe newspapers should be recognized and promoted year-round.
Where else can you read letters to the editor from your neighbors to find out what they are thinking? Or plan your weekend with our East Texas Events page that runs every Thursday and lists upcoming blood drives, service club fundraisers, school activities, fall festivals, church activities, community concerts and wildlife expos? Or scan the classifieds for garage sales and estate sales if that’s more up your alley? Or look for jobs, housekeepers or handymen? Or play sudoku and work crossword puzzles? Or discover new recipes and cooking hacks?
This year’s theme for National Newspaper Week was “In Print. Online. For you.” which I thought was very telling. It truly encapsulates the lengths that our industry has gone to – and continues to go – to keep you informed in whatever manner you prefer. Print newspaper? Check. Digital newspaper? Check. Website? Check. Magazine? Check. Facebook page? Check. I am proud of the way our industry pivots to the extent that we do to ensure that we continue to accommodate you.
Earlier this year, the Texas Press Association commissioned the “Texas State Study,” a statewide market survey which was conducted by the independent research firm Coda Ventures. One thousand respondents were surveyed, more than most national political surveys, producing a statewide margin of error of only plus or minus 3.1%.
The survey findings were compelling, with the study reporting that 85% of Texas adults rely on newspapers every month for local news and advertising.
Of the adults surveyed, 79% read digital newspapers, 69% read print newspapers and 63% read both print and digital. Among readers of community newspapers, the study found that community newspapers outperformed local TV and radio as consumers’ primary source of community news for the following topics: schools in the community; high school sports; candidates and ballot issues; entertainment and dining out; and local government.
Among those surveyed, 88% believe that “Advertising in newspapers is important.” In fact, nine out of 10 have taken action as a direct result of print or digital newspaper ads – from visiting a store or an advertiser’s website, to purchasing a product or service.
The evolution of newspapers continues and studies show that newspaper readers are from all generations, community leaders and voters. The Texas State Study revealed that 89% of newspaper readers vote in local elections and 78% of newspaper readers vote in state or national elections. Additionally, 60% of Texans said that newspaper advertising helps them decide which brands, products and local services to purchase.
The Polk County Enterprise has been serving the local community since 1904. The flagship newspaper of Polk County Publishing Company Inc., it is one of four newspaper publications with a total circulation of 32,550 covering four counties. The company also produces East Texan magazine, a quarterly publication distributed in 28 counties throughout East Texas.
Your local newspaper has always been here for you, and we hope that you’ll continue the journey with us. After all, we’re in this together.