Editorial: Newspapers aren't dead -- here's why

March 5, 2011

Those of us who work in the newspaper industry are frequently asked "how are you doing?"

No, that is not simply a friendly and congenial greeting from a friend, relative or acquaintance. People want to literally know how we are really doing in a business sense.

You see, there have been reports the past couple of years about the death of the newspaper industry. It is a business past its prime in the world of digital information and technology, we have been told.

Well, we're happy to say that our industry's death has been greatly exaggerated. In fact, one online business website, Moneyville, reported last week that the term "dying newspaper industry" will be retired in the next year or two.

The reason? Many newspapers are still profitable, even in these difficult economic times. Readership is at record high levels in the United States and Canada.

Newspapers remain the source of choice by many people for receiving information ranging from local news and business advertising to legal notices and classifieds.

Need proof?

A recent survey conducted by American Opinion Research for the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association revealed some interesting and reassuring results for those of us who work at newspapers. Among their findings:

Some 86 percent of respondents reported regularly reading a daily, weekly or Sunday-only newspaper during an average week. More specifically, 61 percent read a community-based weekly like the Hood River News.

Not all newspaper readers are old, as some would lead you to believe. In fact, this survey revealed that 87 percent of young adults (ages 18 to 39) read a newspaper at some point during the week.

Some 73 percent of respondents said printed newspapers were their top source for local sales and shopping information. Second was the Internet with just 10 percent.

Some 66 percent of respondents said printed newspapers would be their most likely source to access public notices. Government websites were second at 25 percent.

Those are just a few of the highlights.

What does it tell us? Quality newspapers are still valued for the service they provide, be it news, advertising or entertainment. We aren't going the way of the dinosaur anytime soon.

- From Polk County Itemizer-Observer

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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