When the Center for Rural Affairs first pitched the idea of bringing its MarketPlace to West Point, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. After attending the event, held at the Nielsen Community Center last Tuesday, we were impressed with the both the lineup of informative sessions and with what we were able to learn, both about the Center and about several of the issues that were highlighted in the breakout sessions.
Thanks, CRA, for giving West Point a chance to host MarketPlace. It was an excellent event.
That said, we were reminded a time or two more than we liked that “social media” is the way to go for businesses looking to gain a foothold in a highly competitive world. While we won’t disagree that social media has a place in business promotion, the facts remain, we think, that in our part of the world, community newspapers are an even more valuable tool. Of course, we may be just a bit biased, but it’s not just us saying that.
Because people still want to read about the actions of their city council and local school board, the results of high school sporting events and what’s happening in the business community, people turn to the only place they can find that information — their local newspaper.
They also pick up a copy each week to see who got married or is getting married, who passed away and who was born. But more importantly for businesses, the readers also turn to newspaper for the advertisements.
A recent survey by the National Newspaper Association and the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism found that 74 percent of people in areas served by newspapers with circulations fewer than 15,000 read one of those papers each week. They spend nearly 40 minutes reading the paper. Then, they share their newspaper with 2.3 more people. That 81 percent of the folks say they rely on local newspapers for local news is telling, we think.
And those readers make many, many buying decisions based on what they read in those papers.
We Tweet. We do the Facebook thing. But for the full story, and for ads that really do work, nothing beats what rolls off the presses each week.