Newspapers overcome ‘Mark Twain’ fate

Published 2:42 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2017

For the better part of two decades, newspapers have been declared dead — or at least on life support.

That could not be farther from the truth.

As Mark Twain is famously (and somewhat incorrectly) credited with quipping, “Just say the report of my death has been grossly exaggerated.”

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And so it goes for newspapers, especially community publications like The Jessamine Journal whose focus is on local content and connecting consumers with the small businesses that drive our economy.

While newspapers have been forced to adapt and evolve, the reality is most are reaching more people than ever before, albeit in different ways, and readers still turn to the printed product when making purchasing decisions.

Last year, the nationally respected company Pulse Research announced it was conducting a “Pulse of America” research project that would assess the public’s media habits, buying trends and where consumers go for information about products and services.

Pulse partnered with the Kentucky Press Association to ensure that the state was included.

The results included:

• 94.8 percent of respondents said they or someone in their household had read a local newspaper in the past week.

• 58.5 percent said they had made a purchase in the last 30 days because of an advertisement in a local newspaper. Only 40 percent had made a purchase because of a radio ad and 51.5 percent had made a purchase because of a TV commercial.

• asked the type of information they are most interested in, the respondents’ answers showed these areas at the top — local breaking news (85.1 percent), local news (80.2), county news (70.6), local crime news (69.7) and state or national news (54.5). Local business news, local school news, local advertising, local dining news, local political news, local entertainment news and local sports news rounded out the list.

• 45 percent of respondents who operated businesses said they had found newspapers were most successful for advertising, beating Facebook with 41 and word of mouth with 39 percent. 

• 67 percent of advertisers said they received acceptable or excellent responses from their most recent newspaper advertisement.

• only 4.1 percent think that notices from public agencies should be placed on a government website.

These statistics serve as a powerful testimony of the role newspapers still play in our world. Community newspapers are especially important as we deliver news you will not find elsewhere.

So, don’t believe everything you hear. Newspapers are alive and well.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. He can be reached at (859) 469-6452 or by email at