The future of local newspapers will be a key issue for regional, rural and suburban voters at the next federal election, a newly released national study has found.
The biggest national survey of local news audiences in Australia, conducted as part of the Media Innovation and Civic Future of Australia’s Country Press project, reveals the passion people have for their local newspaper and has found they want a much bigger say about its future.
The survey asked almost 4200 Australian country press newspaper readers in rural, regional and outer suburban areas about the role of local newspapers within their communities and their ideas for innovation within the sector.
Key findings include:
- There is continued strong demand (and passion) for the printed product in rural and regional Australia. In fact, the majority of audiences prefer a printed newspaper, with younger generations also part of this trend.
- Country Press readers overall are 2.6 times as likely to read their local paper in print than in digital format
- Audiences overwhelmingly view a printed copy of their newspaper as an essential service for their community.
- Audiences indicate they are five times as likely to go directly to a local news website for their local news than Google or Facebook
- Just 5% of younger audiences say they mostly use social media to find out about local news.