Readership survey shows support for newspapers, public notices

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HSPA commissioned project to gauge reader thoughts, preferences

This year, the Hoosier State Press Association commissioned Coda Ventures, an independent research and consulting firm, to conduct a survey among Indiana adults.

The survey was designed to measure the demographics of newspaper readers, and their reliance on public notices and local community news.

“The full survey will be presented to the board and members in the coming weeks and we will work together to find the most effective use of the data beyond the legislature,” HSPA Executive Director Amelia McClure said.

The survey determined 4.5 million Hoosiers read their local print or digital newspapers each month. That equals 84% of the adult population in Indiana.

The Indiana Market Study: Consumer Insights from the Hoosier State Press Association was conducted online. Respondents were 18 and older and were screened by zip code to ensure an accurate representation of urban and rural communities. Additional quotas were set for age and gender to match the demographic composition of the population.

The survey determined 4.5 million Hoosiers read their local print or digital newspapers each month. That equals 84% of the adult population in Indiana.

Among the findings was the public’s overwhelming support of public notices in newspapers.

The majority, 74%, read the pubic notices in their newspaper or on their newspaper’s website. And 72% thought it should be required to publish public notices in a newspaper.

The majority, 74%, read the pubic notices in their newspaper or on their newspaper’s website. And 72% thought it should be required to publish public notices in a newspaper.

“I believe that notices should be in independent newspapers as a way to keep the government accountable,” wrote one participant.

“Public notices and notifications keep me posted and updated on what is going on in my community and what I can do to stay connected,” wrote another.

Newspapers, according to the respondents, are by far the most trusted source for news — 87% ranked newspapers and their associated websites at the top. Additionally, 77% of those surveyed said they look to their community’s newspapers for information about their local government. Information about schools, entertainment and crime were among other coverage areas cited.

Newspapers, according to the respondents, are by far the most trusted source for news — 87% ranked newspapers and their associated websites at the top.

Demographic information collected includes that 51% or readers are female, 49% male and 74% have lived in their community for five or more years. The majority of readers, 79%, are under the age of 65.

The survey information provides insight on who the state’s newspaper readers are and what’s important to them.

The numbers reflect that people view local newspapers as the preferred way to stay informed about their communities. One participant wrote:

“I think that the only real place to trust anymore is the newspapers, especially local newspapers, because they care about their community.”

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