Community newspapers won't stop the presses anytime soon - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Community newspapers won't stop the presses anytime soon

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- A recent survey suggests national newspapers are having a hard time hanging onto their daily readers. The Audit Bureau of Circulations reports average daily circulation is down 8.7% in the last six months.

There are many reasons, including the rise of free news on the web. Also, publishers are looking to offset losses in advertising revenue by raising newsstand and subscription prices.

Locally, publishers are facing many of the same problems. Whether you're in Waterloo or Waverly, newsrooms have one thing in common -- the challenge to preserve the morning news headline in a 24-7 world.

But while national papers are struggling to maintain readers, local newspapers are holding steady.

"We saw home delivery -- this is home delivery from March to March -- as an increase... A slight increase over prior years," said WCF Courier publisher David Braton.

Circulation is up at many other newspapers in our area. The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun reports about 5% more people subscribe to their weekly edition.

Some are seeing a minor downward trend. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald managing editor said the average daily circulation dropped by less than one percent. It's about the same for Waverly Newspapers. At the Iowa City Press Citizen, Saturday circulation is literally down by one copy.

Braton believes the reason is the connections reporters have with the stories, and people, they're covering.

"We do cover local, local news. That's our focus," he said.

"They're hyper-local in substance, in subject matter. But their impact is far reaching," added Waverly Newspapers editor Anelia Dimitrova.

Meaning you don't need a subscription to get the "local, local news" from anywhere in the world. In the past, to get the news, people turned to the black and white newspaper. All a journalist needed was a keyboard to get information out to the public. Now it takes more work and knowledge to bring folks their news on multiple platforms.

"The world of journalism is no longer print, radio, and TV. We are all converged," said Dimitrova.

"We'll do stories as they happen, audio and video, and push them to the print," said Braton. "Web can be a breaking news outlet for newspapers, and really can be a positive thing for newspapers."

The struggle is figuring out how to make the web make money.

"We haven't figured out how to pay for it yet," admitted Dimitrova.

While the online version of the paper is a great resource, for most, clicking through pages really can't replace flipping through them.

"I think we're going to see print around for a long, long time," Braton noted.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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