National Newspaper Week begins Sunday. We’ll celebrate by doing what we do: bring you the news of our community and the world beyond in a reliable way via print and online editions.
We will continue doing so as we have done for more than 135 years as the newspaper of Orangeburg and The T&D Region. Count on it. The value of information gathered by professional journalists adhering to professional standards will only grow in the sea of information that leaves people so often trying to separate fact from fiction in what is called reporting.
The naysayers point to long-term declines in the circulation of print products on top of competition for readers and revenue as reasons for a coming demise of newspapers.
We’ve made the point before about The Times and Democrat having many thousands more readers every day than ever, with our print edition, web edition and social media broadening the way we provide information for many. More people than ever look to The Times and Democrat as THE source of news for The T&D Region and beyond.
It’s because people still trust their local news outlets. At a time when trust in the news media has been waning and people regularly decry “fake news,” 41 percent of registered voters believe their local news can be trusted more than the national news.
That figure comes from an August study by Morning Consult/Politico, conducted for the News Media Alliance, which polled a national sample of 1,997 registered voters. Of those voters, 68 percent said they trust the news, with 41 percent finding the local news most trustworthy and 27 percent saying they trust the national news more. The remaining 32 percent were unsure or didn’t have a preference.
Conservative voters were particularly trusting of local sources, with 48 percent of Republican men and 42 percent of Republican women trusting local news, and 45 percent of all Republican voters saying they find their local news outlets more trustworthy than national news.
According to reporting by Jennifer Peters of the News Media Alliance, part of that skew is likely because more than half of news consumers seem to perceive national news as having a liberal bias, with 54 percent of all respondents saying they think national news is either somewhat or very liberal. Only 16 percent viewed the national news as somewhat or very conservative.
When it comes to local news, however, there’s a much more even split, with 40 percent viewing their local news as somewhat or very liberal and 25 percent viewing it as somewhat or very conservative. The remaining voters believed that the news either had a centrist/non-partisan lean, or were unsure of any skew.
According to Peters’ report, there’s more to the trustworthiness of local news than merely a lack of distinct political bias and news consumers’ familiarity with their local outlets. For most people, the local source – primarily local newspapers -- is the only one telling them about where they live.
So without the local newspaper, there would have to be, well, a local newspaper with its many avenues today of informing people about what matters to them most in their everyday lives.