This in depth article explains the personal connections Australians have with regional and community newspapers.
In Australia we have many regional and local newspapers that have been published for more than 100 years.Newspapers like the Launceston Examiner which this year is celebrating 170 years of local reporting, and the Maitland Mercury, only one year younger (first published in 1843), have been tirelessly reporting on the nitty gritty of local life over many generations. And not forgetting the Geelong Advertiser, with 163 years of daily publication under its masthead.
But these newspapers are not just important to the past. The Local Newspaper Report covers not just the motivation of readers but their mindset when reading, the impact the newspaper makes on their decision-making and insight into the types of content most motivating to different demographic segments.
The research is not a volumetric readership count – it’s deeper than that. Using key insights we are able to define the complementary roles that each tier of newspaper publishing plays, opening up lateral strategic pathways for advertisers.
Taking on board the perceptions of readers both from qualitative interviews and quantitative data collection, ideas begin to group together when discussing each type of newspaper. If we apply Jungian derived archetypes to these groups of ideas, the roles emerge more clearly.
Readers of metro and national newspapers anticipate a tone that is authoritative and influential and expect the content to set the news agenda for the day. It takes the role of trusted adviser and is best represented by The Sage archetype.
Regional newspapers invoke local pride and reflect the mind and mood of the region. They are advocates and watchdogs for the local region and are most closely aligned to The Hero archetype.
And the community newspaper does what community newspapers do best. They provide readers with the tools to get involved amid practical, local information that is hard to find anywhere else. They actively connect readers to the community and are The Everyman (or Regular Girl/Guy).
Now these archetypes can be useful because there is something within our subconscious that easily identifies with them and they can be a helpful shortcut to understanding and assisting advertisers with aligning themselves to channels or creating effective, contextual messages. Another more contemporary and active way of expressing them may be that metro and national newspapers feed the mind, regional newspapers take the pulse, while community newspapers speak to the heart (and home is where the heart is after all!).
Importantly, a lot of this good feeling ascribed to local newspapers, rubs off on the advertisers within their pages. Community newspaper readers are almost three times more likely to feel good about advertisers in their local newspaper, compared to advertising on letterboxed material. And readers of regional newspapers feel twice as good about the advertising in their regional newspaper, versus the advertising they see on local TV.
For today’s hyper-connected consumers, for your offer to stand out, context matters, as does engaging with brands and businesses you trust. Local newspapers offer the right context and reader trust to a degree with which other local media channels just cannot compete. And that’s why we have 170 year old local papers that are still as relevant to their local readers, as they were during the early years of settlement.
There are many aspects to this research you may find surprising, particularly the emerging importance of the local newspaper website, and how younger readers are engaging with their local newspaper.