Many people believe the misconception that the newspaper business is dying.
Don’t get me wrong; the fact that so many newspapers have closed over the last three years seems grim. Just ask the Ann Arbor News or Rocky Mountain News.
While large newspapers struggle to stay in business, community newspapers are alive and well. Small newspapers that report news in one or two towns are still doing just as well now as before the “Great Recession,” the term being used by the Associate Press referring to the recession of the late 2000s.
Community newspapers, such as the Pioneer in Big Rapids, report news that is important to the citizens of Big Rapids and the surrounding area. I mean, where else can you find information about the services available for seniors in Big Rapids or an article about local artists?
A few weeks ago, the Pioneer reported that 73 percent of the population read a local newspaper at least once per week, according to a nationwide survey by the National Newspaper Association.
The Internet is a great tool to find information on just about any subject. However, no one knows the people, places and events of a small town better than the reporters of a daily newspaper.
Sure, you can probably find an obscure source somewhere online and get the basic stories and headlines, but you won’t get the full story. The real stories are feature pieces about firefighters and business owners. You can’t get that kind of story on Wikipedia.
The technological advances in just the last five years have really forced the journalism industry to reevaluate its way of doing business. Now that people have instant access to news sources on their cell phones and laptops, people demand news faster. Additionally, people want more visual news and entertainment through videos, photo galleries, blogs and other visual sources.
Even with a dramatic shift in the media climate and culture, small newspapers will continue to survive. Thank you to all the readers and advertisers that support the Torch. Without you, our newspaper would not exist. n