Readers make daily differencePublished 12:05am Sunday, September 25, 2011
Don’t you people know how to spell? Why can’t you hire a good proofreader?
You may not believe me, but as much as making mistakes drives me crazy, such comments are music to my ears.
You see, without our amazingly loyal and intelligent readers, our staff’s efforts would simply be to produce ink on paper, pixels on a computer screen.
Neither of those matter much without engaged, dedicated readers. The best stories and photographs have no impact if they aren’t read.
Readers are important to every aspect of what we do. Increasingly our company is more than just a newspaper company. We’re a news media company, delivering local news in the traditional print edition, online editions, magazines and a number of special sections each year.
Each news delivery outlet requires readers. The readers drive everything we do.
Readers are why local businesses use our products to market their goods and services. Business leaders know reaching out to our readership is the single best way to quickly reach the largest percentage of local residents.
And that’s not speculation or numbers pulled from thin air. Earlier this year, we asked a national firm to study our community, asking hundreds of local residents how they consumed local media.
The survey asked residents what they read, watched and listened to, in terms of local media and, perhaps more important, which types of media they found most helpful.
That independent survey, produced by Pulse Research in Portland, Ore., indicates The Democrat’s readership is as strong as ever. The survey asked randomly selected residents of Adams County and Concordia Parish questions including:
Which of the following media have you read, viewed, listened to or used at home or away from home in the last week?
A whopping 88.4 percent said they read The Democrat’s print edition each week. Competing media outlets seeking to sell their products will suggest that “print is dead” and “no one reads newspapers anymore.”
But that’s simply not true, at least not here.
The survey showed that the next most consumed media is local radio, with 58 percent of locals saying they had listened to at least a few minutes of radio programming in the last week.
Note, however, that’s all local stations — from country to hip-hop, from classic rock to talk radio. Based on the number of radio stations in the area and working the math in your head, the actual number of people listening to any given station gets much smaller.
The Democrat’s online site, natchezdemocrat.com came in third with more than 40 percent of the population saying they read something on the site in the last week.
Local cable TV was fourth with only 38.6 percent of those surveyed saying they had tuned in during the past week. Like radio, that includes all available channels.
Many naysayers wrote off our community when industries left and our population shrank. Those population losses affected many businesses, including The Democrat. But like the community as a whole, we’re far from dead. We’re as alive as our area is.
In fact, I believe that, like our community, some of our best, brightest years may still be ahead as we work to reach more and more readers and newer and more exciting ways.
Thanks for reading us and please let us know what we can do to improve the service we provide you each day.
Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.