While newspapers are rapidly losing readers, a strong community-based newspaper can still deliver strong results.
The news for newspapers these days is not very rosy. It seems to be dying a slow, or maybe rapid, death. But locally oriented daily or weekly newspapers can still provide an effective vehicle for hospital advertising. And their future may be brighter than it seems.
In the past two years, The Tuscan Citizen, Rocky Mountain News, Baltimore Examiner, Cincinnati Post, Albuquerque Tribune among others have halted their presses. Others, such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Detroit News/Detroit Free Press and Ann Arbor News joined a list of newspapers that have gone to online/print or online-only editions. And that does not take into account the many who have filed bankruptcy or who are desperately trying to avoid it.
There are several reasons for the demise of newspapers.
- The down economy is certainly a heavy blow to the industry.
- The high cost of newspaper advertising has always been an obstacle.
- But more than anything else, the rise of the Internet, and especially the adoption of the Internet by younger generations, is the largest factor.
Even though newspapers are having huge struggles, some newspapers are doing quite well and provide an effective medium for hospital advertising. Those newspapers, in medium to small markets that are focused on a heavy dose of local news where there is no other viable source of local news are still very viable. In some markets, there is no local television station for local news reporting and local radio stations have long ago forsaken local newsgathering and reporting. So where does one get the local news? You might say the Internet. But in these medium to small markets, the only source that is posting local news on the Internet are the local newspapers themselves. So in those markets, newspapers still survive and even thrive.
It is argued that younger generations just don’t read newspapers but depend on the Internet for their news. This is true, but at some point in the years to come, those young people will have families and be more concerned with happenings in their community. Then they will become interested in what happened at the city council meeting or who’s running for the local school board or what’s going on that affects them. Then where will they find that information? Unless Internet news postings somehow become very local, there are nowhere but local newspapers to obtain news and valuable information. Then even non-newspaper readers might become newspaper advocates.
So, it’s not wise to dismiss local newspaper advertising out of hand because of what’s happening nationally and in large markets. For those hospitals interested in reaching the local audience in medium to small markets, newspaper advertising can still be a very good option.