By: Sharon Aron Baron:
Last year while knocking on hundreds of doors in Tamarac with a petition in hand to recall Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad, I asked residents, “Do you get the paper?” I knew if they did, they would be educated on what was going on in the city and already familiar with why we were doing the recall. Sadly, too many people said they didn’t, and what was worse were the ones with children in their homes.
I loved getting the paper when I was a kid. Our family received two daily papers: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Before my dad would get his hands on them, I had already stolen the comics. First, the comics got me hooked into reading, then I moved up to the astrology column, Daily Jumble, Ann Landers and Dear Abby, and finally, all the local, national, and world news inside. Today, I love getting two daily newspapers because there are so many articles I would have never have seen by browsing the Internet alone.
Are our newspaper audiences shrinking?
Weekday circulation of newspapers fell by 47% in the last 10 years to the point that only a quarter of the nation’s households take a daily newspaper, said former newspaper columnist and editor Alan Mutter in Newsosaur.
The sad news is: fewer and fewer people are reading newspapers.
According to Mutter, the outlook for print is daunting, given that three-quarters of the print audience at the typical newspaper is 45-plus years old. The print format fails to resonate with Millenials, Gen Xers, and even many Boomers. The advanced age of the print audience not only is undesirable to many advertisers and represents an unavoidable demographic cliff as readers age to perfection – and beyond.
In 2006, the Sun-Sentinel ranked 37 out of 100 newspapers in the country, according to Audit Bureau Circulation, with an average daily circulation of 339,728.
In 2011, according to the latest statistics published by the Sun-Sentinel, the average daily circulation rate was 166,996.
In March 2013, the Alliance for Audited Media Average Circulation Figures showed the daily average at 163,728.
So, where are the 1.815 million Broward residents getting their news?
The Internet, social media – even worse, nowhere at all.
According to a Pew Research study in October 2013, the news is a common but incidental experience on Facebook. Most U.S. adults do not go to Facebook seeking news out. Instead, the vast majority of Facebook news consumers, 78 percent, read some news when they are on Facebook for other reasons.
It’s great to peruse news through social media or finding it through Google, but learning about world and national news this way is not the same as consistently paid readership through a daily newspaper.