PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Opinion

Where it’s happening

By From page A6 | March 22, 2013

Where else can you read about the changing fire fee boundaries in El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park? Even Board of Equalization Member George Runner quotes the Mountain Democrat on those articles.

Or how about the multi-million dollar mom?

You may get tired of reading about the Gang of Three and their policy manual mania at the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District, but you can’t say you haven’t been informed.

You may hate your water bill from the El Dorado Irrigation District, but we guarantee you’ll be informed about what the district is spending your money on.

The homeless camp, a fancy new fire ladder truck, the “Bones” author, the best prep downhill skier in the state goes to Ponderosa High School, the grand jury is dissolved and a prominent person is suspected of embezzlement are more stories to read.

You’ll only read stories like that in the Mountain Democrat. Sometimes TV stations will pick up our stories by watching for Tweets from our Website. But it all starts here at our Broadway office and will continue when we move to our new Placerville Drive building.

A survey of community newspaper readers recently conducted for the National Newspaper Association showed that 71 percent of respondents read a community newspaper at least once a week and 96 percent paid for their paper rather than waiting for someone to leave an already read copy on a coffee shop counter. And 75 percent read all or most of their newspaper.

The split on surveyed readers was 52 percent being daily newspaper readers and 48 percent readers of non-daily newspapers like the Mountain Democrat. The circulation of papers surveyed ranged from about 300 to 15,000.

Some people read most of the paper at one sitting, but the survey found that 43.8 percent keep their newspaper for more than 10 days.

Without using a wire service we fill our paper with staff written stories and important items sent into us. The survey found 77.4 percent read the paper for local news and information. And you can’t beat Bob Billingsley’s Back Fence column for being chock full of information.

The national survey, conducted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism also found that in households with children between the ages of 11 and 21 these subscribers saw 18 percent of the youngsters read the paper. Our bet is they read the sports page and the comics.

“The numbers are self-evident. They indicate the level of connectedness people have with their community newspaper,” said NNA President Merle Baranczyk. “From year to year, the studies have shown that people believe in their local papers, for the news they need and the advertising they rely on.”

Some other items from the survey included 92 percent of the readers thought local papers were informative, 75 percent agreed they were entertaining and 84 percent looked forward to reading the newspapers. And 46 percent “used the newspapers for their political and voting positions.”

We have had a Website since 1994, and now with a commentary section that part of the Website seems to have attracted an elevated level of interest. But the survey found that 49 percent (up from 48 percent in 2011) reported they “never” read local news online. People may get their national news from the Internet, but nearly half still like to get their local news in the printed form. It’s easier to read the stories and ads, put the paper down and return to it later. Though 59 percent will go online to seek out specific stories.

Community newspapers like the Mountain Democrat is where it’s happening. It is a formula that has worked here for 162 years. It’s the reason we are the oldest newspaper in the West.

Mountain Democrat

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