CREATE BRIDGES Podcast: Print Media Still Vital in Small, Rural Communities
Kim Break, editor at Areawide Media, recently joined me on the CREATE BRIDGES Small Business – Big Rural Impact podcast to discuss how partnering with the local newspaper is a great opportunity for advertising and promoting businesses and their services.
Areawide Media is a northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri publishing company that has been in business since the mid 1800s. They have three weekly newspapers, a weekly classified section, and a monthly magazine. While our conversation focused on small businesses partnering with local media and some of the trends we see in small rural communities, Kim and I discussed a few other topics that I felt were relevant to share.
You can listen to the full interview here or search for the podcast on iTunes and Spotify using your desktop or smartphone device.
Here are three of those topics:
1) The local newspaper is critical to disseminating accurate and reliable information.
Many people turn to social media sites to get their news or updates, and while this can be a good way to get some information, it isn’t always the best way to stay informed. Misinformation has been increasing over the last several years with little accountability or responsibility. Consequently, individuals find it difficult to determine what is true or false.
Contrarily, local newspapers like Areawide Media hold itself to a higher level of accountability and demonstrate good journalistic practices when reporting on local events and news. As a result, the local paper lends credibility to whatever topic it is covering and typically has buy-in from the community because of its longstanding relationship in the community.
2) The local newspaper is one of the last avenues for local information and current
Local newspapers like Areawide Media strive to provide timely, relevant information of activities happening in their readers’ communities. One example of this is their attendance at city council meetings. While these meetings are open to the general public, many meetings take place in small rooms that can only accommodate a dozen or so individuals. It’s also not always clear how to obtain meeting minutes from each city. Areawide Media makes this type of information more accessible to the community.
3) The local newspaper is in your mailbox, on your smartphone, and on your desktop
Many local newspapers like Areawide Media are still in the print business. For many readers, this is still the preferred way for some readers to consume media and will continue to be so for years to come.
On the other hand, Kim also noted that changing demographics and technology have prompted the need to go digital with their content. As such, Areawide Media offers all their publications online now too. This provides multiple ways for their readers to view their content, and digital readers have full access to all the same content in the printed publications too. Several years ago, a different publication in the area shifted to a digital-only subscription that resulted in a increase of readers and subscribers for Areawide Media because they still offered a print publications.
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the episode, you should. Kim and Areawide Media are just one example of how smaller media publications are navigating technology and trends to provide the service and content their readers want and need.
To learn more about CREATE BRIDGES, visit the website: www.uaex.uada.edu/createbridges.