Here's 'Why Newspapers'

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With the introduction of a "social football" reporter in week one of the high school season, Facebook likes at News-Item Sports have gone from 250 to 473. Our main Facebook page has 3,347 followers.

Our website continues to attract huge numbers - an average of 114,000 unique visitors per month so far this year at, and 706,973 page views alone in August.

And we're still reaching approximately 20,000 readers a day with our print product.

At the risk of too much self-promotion, these statistics are offered in discussing the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association's new web page, "Why Newspapers."

In launching the site this week, PNA said, "Newspapers in Pennsylvania and across the country are thriving with new innovation, an engaged audience and more readers than at any time in history. The purpose of the 'Why Newspapers' web page is to reinforce this message and to help our members spread the word."

We couldn't agree more about engaging larger audiences.

And maybe it's time to toot our own horn, as PNA noted in its brief introduction of "Why Newspapers" to its members, which include The News-Item:

"It's time to wake up, Pennsylvania Newspapers! For too long, other media sources have been heralding the decline of newspapers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only have Pennsylvania's print and online newspapers survived the economic downturn, many are now thriving with new innovation, an engaged audience and increased readership."

With a nod to social media, PNA promotes these "tweetable" facts (140 characters or less) about newspapers.

- 83 percent of Pennsylvania adults read a newspaper in print or online in the past week.

- 8 in 10 adults used inserts in the past 30 days to make purchasing decisions.

- 98.6 million American adults read a newspaper in print or online every weekday.

- Newspapers are rated as more engaging than local television, cable, radio, Twitter/blogs and social media.

- 81 percent of newspaper users took action on a newspaper ad in the past month.

- The mobile newspaper audience is growing fast; up 58 percent in an average month in 2012 compared with 2011. That totals 34 million adults.

- 67 percent of adults 18 or older have read a print, e-edition or visited a newspaper website in the past week.

- Newspapers are rated as the source that operates in an ethical manner and has the public's best interest in mind.

- 87 percent of Pennsylvania adults say keeping the public informed through legal advertising is an important requirement for government agencies.

- Newspapers are rated as the medium in which advertising makes consumers more likely to purchase.

- The majority (59 percent) of young adults ages 18 to 24 read newspaper media content in print or online in a typical week.

- Newspapers are rated as the most used source to plan weekly shopping or make purchasing decisions.

More than simply promoting the newspaper industry in general or The News-Item in particular, sharing these statistics is also a means of reassuring the many readers who have reached out to us since news of our pending sale with much appreciated wishes for our continued existence. One never knows what the future holds, but it seems the numbers are on our side.

(Andy Heintzelman, editor of The News-Item, writes "The Week In News" for each Saturday edition.)

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