Earlier this week, Claremore Rotarians were given a presentation on the importance of local newspapers and their impact on communities around the state and the country.
Claremore Daily Progress publisher Kristy Geisler served as special guest at the group’s regular weekly meeting and took the opportunity to offer Rotarians some thoughts regarding local newspaper’s continued significance.
“Like some of you here today, before I first got into the newspaper industry in 1994, I wasn’t a (newspaper) subscriber,” Geisler said. “I used to receive a newspaper wrap with local ads and grocery insert which, in the industry is called the TMC — total market coverage — to reach every household with a newspaper product.
“I know none of you have ever seen this but the ads (in the TMC) were full of typos, so I decided with my background in marketing to go into the publisher’s office and tell him I could help him have more effective ads,” she continued. “That morning, he told me he was running ads in national trade publications for an advertising director, so I looked at him and said I could do that job and I was hired on the spot, thus beginning a 25-year career in newspaper management.”
Geisler noted that although talk of newspapers not having enough readership, statistics provided by the National Newspaper Association indicate otherwise.
Among some of the statistics provided by the NNA were:
• Total community readership with a 2.3 percent pass along rate is 150 million weekly
• 65 percent of community market adults say newspaper ads are influential in making purchase decisions.
• 70 percent of community market adults say they rarely or never rely on television for purchasing decisions.
• The most frequently read topic is local news and 71 percent believe their newspaper’s accuracy is good excellent.
“Our company (CNHI) has invested in more than 110 newspapers, and with our recent merger of our sister company, Raycom Media, I can tell you that they believe in our local newspapers and communities more now than ever before,” she said. “In the digital age, it’s sometimes difficult for print to be ‘sexy’, but where else do you find pictures of homecomings, celebrations of life and tributes to those we’ve lost? Where would we be without a newspaper to keep local government accountable for the decisions made that impact Rogers County? Every day, I hear from subscribers who say ‘Call me old school, but I want to hold the newspaper in my hands and read the story, page by page.”
Geisler then cited some statistics about readership of the Progress, including the Progress’s website attracting 49,835 unique visitors a month, with more than 133,000 total page views.
She concluded her presentation with a brief question and answer session.