A new study from The Pew Research Center reveals who is more likely to pay for their news, and it’s no surprise: It’s those who are more engaged in their communities.
However, we believe all residents of a community should seek out the best source for local news, and we believe that source is your local newspaper.
According to the Pew study, “only 14 percent of Americans pay to get news of their locality through subscription, donation or membership.”
The Center reports that Americans ages 50 and older are more likely to pay for local news, which comes as no surprise. 29 percent of those 65 and older and 15 percent of those 50-64 “say they have paid a local news organization in the past year.”
Just 9 percent of those ages 30 to 49 and 7 percent of those 18 to 29 say they have paid a local news organization in the past year.
The report also found:
• “Those with a college education are also more likely to pay for local news than their counterparts. For example, a little over two-in-10 Americans with a college degree (22 percent) say they have paid for local news in the past year, compared with 13 percent of those with some college education and just one-in-10 of those with a high school diploma or less.”
• “Americans who prefer to get their local news in print are much more likely to pay for it than those who prefer other platforms. About four-in-10 of these news consumers (39 percent) say they have paid for local news in the past year. That is more than double the share among those who prefer to get news either from the radio (16 percent) or news websites or apps (12 percent), and around four times the share of those who prefer to get local news from TV (10 percent). It also far exceeds the share among those who prefer to get local news via social media (8 percent).”
• “U.S. adults who are more civically engaged — those who have participated in a political event in the past year or are currently active in or a member of a local group or organization in their community — are far more likely to pay for local news than those who are less engaged. Roughly three-in-10 (29 percent) of those who are highly active in their local community say they have paid for local news in the past year. That is almost twice the rate of those who are somewhat active (14 percent) and about five times the rate of those who are inactive in their community (6 percent).”
• “The survey asked Americans how important it is to follow 11 different local news topics, including weather, crime, sports, government and politics and local schools. Those highly interested in five or more of these topics are no more likely to pay for local news than those highly interested in fewer topics, with one exception: Those who say no topics are important for their daily lives are less likely to pay for local news.”
While many people are accessing news online for free, even our own reporting, there are limits to how much they can access, especially the type of hyper-local news community papers like us are producing.
The best way to make sure such sources remain viable in communities like our own is to support your local newspaper. You can do that by purchasing a subscription, advertising, sharing our news online and submitting news tips, letters to the editor, photos and more.
We want to be part of a well-informed and highly engaged community. Without a community newspaper, we don’t think that could be achieved to the fullest extent.