Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Overall, Community Newspapers Doing Well?

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Conor’s latest post about newspapers sparked my interest in finding out how local and community newspapers in my home state (Ohio) are faring.

[I’m totally guilty of thinking about “the failing newspaper business” and whatnot only in terms of the major papers—even though every time I go home, my dad (a daily Cincinnati Enquirer subscriber for ages) talks about how much worse the paper is getting, how much more sparse. And the Enquirer is still a major city daily; what about papers like The Lima News? Or the business papers? Or the suburban weeklies? They’re still around, and sometimes they post jobs on journalismjobs.com, so I guess I just always assumed they’re doing fine. But are they? And do we only think no one is talking about these kinds of papers because we’re too busy reading about the NYT and Chicago Tribune? Are there, perhaps, blog posts and articles all over Ohio (and Tennessee and Nebraska and Wisconsin and …) discussing local newspaper hardships?]

I did some googling.

Try as I might (which, admittedly, was not very hard—but the quest will continue) I couldn’t find much about how newspapers in Ohio specifically are faring. But I did find a blog about community newspapers overall. A post from yesterday reportsJournal Register Closes Dozens of Newspapers:”

.. the company said Wednesday that it is closing eight weekly newspapers in upstate New York … The company is also closing several other upstate weeklies …

It goes on to list closings in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Connecticut as well. But a post from Jan. 29 notes that “overall, community newspapers performed well in 2008 despite the challenging economy.” According to Suburban Newspapers of America and the National Newspaper Association:

Financial results for community newspapers were tracked quarterly last year for the first time ever, in an attempt to measure this segment of the industry … Community newspapers are not experiencing the massive ad revenue declines that are being felt by some others in the industry nor are they experiencing massive layoffs.

Data collected in 2008 showed a 1.7% decline in advertising for the third quarter, 2.4% in the second quarter and 2.7% in the first quarter (all were measured against the same reporting period from the prior year.) Fourth quarter results will be available in late February. These results compare to industry-wide double-digit declines of 18.1% (third quarter 2008), 15.1% second quarter 2008, and 12.8% (first quarter 2008), as reported by Newspaper Association of America.

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Written by Elizabeth

February 13, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Media

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