Before reading my column this week, you may want to first read the other story that explains that we’ve changed the ending on our email to make all of our digital addresses uniform.
Our goal is to make it easier to find us on the Web, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and other virtual forums that will become the next multimedia rage. Simply put, all of our addresses will now incorporate the phrase “lakerlutznews.”
I think of “lakerlutznews” as the “handle” for our company. Remember those days not so long go ago when people adopted the CB radio language of truckers and gave themselves “handles”?
CB radios were the precursor of cell phones and email, and provided an instant way to talk with friends and family while driving across town or cross-country. In many ways today’s technologies are not that much different — just faster and more seamless.
Our new handle is easier to remember and say than “cnewspubs” — the abbreviation of our corporate name, Community News Publications, that we’ve used since we launched our first website in 2002.
While we want you to know about our new “handle” and expanded digital products, this does not mean we will be focusing less on the printed weekly newspaper you are holding in your hands.
In fact, now that our website and Facebook page have been redesigned and we’re posting e-editions and daily photos and stories, we have more time than ever to focus on the newspaper itself. After all, there are 60,000 people who read The Laker and Lutz News every week, or 240,000 readers monthly. This compares to 17,000 monthly page views on our website and close to 2,000 friends on Facebook.
With numbers like this, there’s no doubt that the printed newspaper is the way most of you prefer to get your local news. And you’re no different than newspaper readers nationwide.
A recent study by the Newspaper Association of America found that 55 percent of the U.S. newspaper audience — both daily and weekly papers like ours — only read their local newspaper in print and never read it online.
The NAA hired Scarborough Research to survey 150 U.S. media markets, including Tampa Bay. The study found that the digital-only newspaper audience (people who only read newspapers online, via mobile devices, or both) is very small.
Just 7 percent said they only read their local newspaper online, 3 percent said they only read it with a mobile device, and just 5 percent said they read it both online and with a mobile device.
That works out to 15 percent of the local newspaper audience who don’t read the printed paper and instead only read the news online or with a mobile device.
So, to those who believe the printed newspaper is on its way to extinction, you are wrong. This NAA study is just the latest of many studies that dispels the belief that newspapers are dinosaurs and will not be around for our great-grandchildren to read.
While only 15 percent of newspaper readers get their news digitally today, it still represents a lot of readers, and that market will likely continue to grow. So, we will continue to make improvements to our online services and do our best to keep up with the ever-changing digital world.
But at the same time, we will never forget that the vast majority of our readers will always prefer the printed paper to stay abreast of local stories, photos and advertisements that are informative, relevant and uplifting to read.
The challenge that I have as publisher is to bridge the worlds of print and digital so that we remain accessible to all of our readers in the format they prefer, to enable us to continue to be a vital resource for everyone who is interested in their community.
And hopefully something as simple as consistently using our new “handle” of “lakerlutznews” will make it easier for you to do just that.
Published April 9, 2014
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