We’re doing OK and print isn’t dead

Only old people read the newspaper.
Newspaper ads are ineffective.
Newspapers are dying.
Print is dead.
We are sure you have heard or said the above phrases before. We’re here to tell you something. This just isn’t true, and it’s especially not true here in Custer.
Did you know that subscriptions to the Custer County Chronicle are on the way up? It’s true. We have seen a steady uptick in subscriptions over the past several months. To be fair, some of those are digital subscriptions, and there are subscribers who only want to read the paper online or via an emailed PDF. However, those people still see our advertisements, and the digital and print all work together here at Southern Hills Publishing.
Perception can be reality, however, and if we as newspapers don’t fight this perception, people will accept it as reality. Demographics are shifting, and the reason you hear about many newspapers closing is because many are merging. When that happens, one newspaper goes away. As of this writing, 93.7 percent of the country’s counties are still covered by a newspaper. Newspapers in many places are hurting, but as Mark Twain so eloquently put it, their death is greatly exaggerated.
We recently returned from the South Dakota Newspaper Association convention, and returned energized to continue to bring you the news. Newspapers are absolutely critical to a Democratic republic. This cannot be overstated.
Did you know studies show when a newspaper closes government spending goes up? Taxes? They go up too. Fewer people run for office, voting goes down and towns become more partisan with less of a sense of community. In one instance, a town in California without a newspaper had the city manager give himself a $750,000 raise. Why? Because he could. The newspaper wasn’t around to be the government watchdog. All of these facts are verifiable through the Nielsen Scarborough News Media Alliance.
In many cases a negative story is being told about newspapers, but what we do is enshrined in the very first amendement to the Constitution of the United States. Facts matter, and we will continue to produce news for people who depend on it.
That same aforementioned news alliance showed newspaper readers are younger than a TV viewing audience, and those who read papers via a mobile device are on average younger than the average age of someone on Facebook. The study also showed children who read newspapers do better in school.
Who reads newspapers in South Dakota? Nearly 80 percent of people under 65, of which 63 percent are homeowners and of which 63 percent earn over $50,000 a year. Printed newspapers continue to be a trusted news source, moreso than radio, TV, magazines and much more than social sedia sites.
The truth can’t die when journalism lives. Please continue to support your local newspaper. We’ll hold up our end of the deal. We’ll bring you timely news that is accurate. We’ll help you reach your customers. Together, we can continue to help Custer thrive.

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