We suspect you may have missed the memo: This is National Newspaper Week. So, let’s start off by thanking our subscribers, occasional readers and advertisers. They make it possible for all of our work to find its way to your home – in print, online or both – each and every day of the year.

Theirs is a solid investment, not only in their own businesses and communities, but also in helping assure that our nation’s democracy works – in D.C., Charleston and city council chambers all across the landscape here in southern West Virginia. They understand that a free and open society, a government of, by and for the people, depends on an open and honest examination of the facts – as well as access to public records – and a respectful conversation about the issues of the day.

While there is a lot of talk about the troubled business model at newspapers that is bending to an exodus of eyeballs to online social media platforms, well, just as always, we have some news for you.

In research sponsored by Duke University’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy, the key finding was this: Local newspapers significantly outperformed local TV, radio and online-only outlets in news production, both in overall story output and in terms of stories that were original, local or addressed a critical information need.

The sample size in the study was significant. Researchers studied 100 randomly selected communities across the U.S., analyzing over 16,000 stories provided by 663 local media outlets.

Additional findings:

While local newspapers accounted for roughly 25 percent of the outlets in the research study, they were responsible for nearly 50 percent of the original news stories.

● Local newspapers accounted for nearly 60 percent of the local news stories in the sample – more than all of the other outlet types.

● Local newspapers accounted for nearly 60 percent of the stories that met three criteria (original, local, addresses a critical information need), with the other outlet categories each accounting for only 10 to 15 percent of the stories that meet all three criteria.

● The study found online-only media outlets remained a relatively small component of local media ecosystems, accounting for about 10 percent of the local outlets in the study’s universe and generally producing only about 10 percent of the news stories across various content categories.

Clearly, the study found local newspapers delivering the goods – more so than any other media platform.

University of Kentucky journalism professor Al Cross commissioned a bumper sticker a couple years back. It read, “Support democracy: Subscribe.”

Sounds good to us. If you are so inclined ...

Go online: https://www.bdtonline.com/subscriptions/

Call this number: (304) 327-2802

Or stop by: 928 Bluefield Avenue here in Bluefield.

Might even leave a news tip or knock on the editor’s door and have one of those important conversations about the issues of the day – and the state of our democracy. It’s as important as ever.

 

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