‘Community’ press remains vital, survey shows

 There is a tendency in the news biz to think of journalism as the major metros in Los Angeles, New York and (maybe) Chicago. But there is a wide and deep swath of daily journalism being committed between the coasts.naa

  A new survey, c0-sponsored by the National Newspaper Association (not exactly an objective source, I know) that sheds a bit of light on how the weekly industry is doing. Among the more interesting findings: community readership is at 81 percent. That means, if you believe the survey, that eight out of 10 adults read their local weekly last week.

   The survey also reported that 30 percent of respondents did not have Internet access at home. This is part of the debate over the Digitial Divide. While all the attention is focused on the migration of news consumers to the Internet, which is a worthy and important thing to which to pay attention, there is a significant portion of the American public who are sailing along as they always have, by reading their local paper.

   This is good and bad. The small paper segment of the news biz provides a wonderful space for professional reporters to start their careers and learn how to do their thing. The bad is that the ongoing Digital Divide continues to new class distinctions that could threaten public participation in the news and therefore in democracy.

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