Print media – not dead yet

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The death of newspapers, magazines, in fact all print media, has been declared repeatedly in the past decade or so. On-line platforms, both social media and websites of newspapers, were the perceived culprits , and the recent announcement that Readers Digest Canada was to cease publication seemed to confirm the death of physical, hold-in-your-hand publications.

But newspapers, particularly community newspapers like the Times, are refusing to die, no matter how difficult it has been to maintain life under harsh circumstances. According to a recent report by News Media Canada, more than 13 million copies of free community newspapers are distributed across Canada every week, along with another 15 million daily papers, most of them paid publications.

Ontario has the largest number of publications among the provinces and territories, 297 titles, with a total circulation of almost 10 million copies weekly. Canadians use four platforms to access news: print, website, tablet and phone, and 58% of all readers use printed publications. And newspapers remain a trusted source for news and information. According to the report, 60% of all Canadians trust print and digital newspaper content. 

One of the myths regarding print media and newspapers in particular, is that younger people don’t read them, preferring podcasts or digital editions. News Media Canada’s survey, conducted in November of last year, showed that the truth is much different. Of the Millenial generation (aged 28-43), 83% read a newspaper weekly, either on paper or digitally. An almost identical number of the younger generation, aged between 20 and 27, 84%, read a newspaper weekly , 30% of them on all four platforms, including print.

So, newspapers are not just for an older demographic: they are a trusted and valued source of news and information for all age groups in Canada. Local, free community newspapers, like the Times, may be finding it hard to survive in an expensive and demanding milieu, but it seems it’s worth the trouble after all. And that is very encouraging indeed!

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