Despite stories questioning the health of the industry, newspaper executives find some reason to be optimistic, according to a new study of media executives conducted by Princeton-based American Opinion Research.
One in four newspaper executives say the industry will be more relevant to consumers five years from now than they are today, a third higher than the percentage saying newspapers will be less relevant. About half say there will be no difference.
Executives say they are working to stay relevant by focusing more on local news and events in their communities, information many consumers can’t get elsewhere. They are also focusing more on digital content to keep pace in our changing media environment.
These are some of the findings of a study of daily and weekly newspaper executives in North America, conducted for Newspaper Association Managers, Inc. (NAM) by American Opinion Research.
“The survey’s guidance to my and the other press associations will be helpful in allocation of resources,” said NAM President Dean Ridings. “However, it is also a call to action to provide increased leadership in promoting the industry.”
This study is based on interviews with 386 daily and weekly newspaper executives from all 50 states and in Canada. Interviews were conducted between June 18 and July 6.
The research also found that concerns about advertising revenues top executives’ list of industry issues, followed by the need to retain readership; however, a significant percentage of industry leaders are also concerned about the negative public image of newspapers and their lack of effective self promotion. Although executives give their state press associations high satisfaction ratings overall and for providing a variety of specific services, they also urge associations to be aggressive advocates in promoting the image and value of newspapers.
Training also remains an important role for press associations, according to newspaper executives. They are particularly interested in programs related to advertising sales training, digital strategies, and social media strategies. Almost two in three executives (63 percent) said they would send staff if press associations cooperated to provide affordable, in-person, regional training programs.
Newspaper Association Managers, Inc. (NAM) is a professional organization of executives of state, regional, national and international newspaper associations headquartered in the United States and Canada. NAM fosters communication and sharing of ideas and information among its members for the benefit of newspaper associations.
American Opinion Research (AOR) is a full-service international market research company headquartered in Princeton. AOR has conducted research for companies in 46 states, the District of Columbia and more than 30 other countries.