Archived Story

Rumors of demise just wrong

Published 12:00am Sunday, October 14, 2012

With the advent of new technology and media, naysayers have always predicted that each advancement would sound the death knell for traditional media.

History has proven otherwise.

The invention of radio was supposed to have killed newspapers. It didn’t.

The cultural explosion of television was certainly going to be the end of broadcast radio. It wasn’t.

The Internet was going to be a complete game changer, marking the demise of nearly all other competitive media but certainly newspapers and magazines. It hasn’t.

Of course technology and progress changes the landscape of communication in our media-driven world and traditional media like newspapers, radio and television must be willing to adapt and evolve when it comes to reaching readers.

The Tribune and its variety of print and online products are reaching more people every day than ever before. That is the ultimate measure of success.

In August, The Tribune partnered with Pulse Research of Portland, Ore., to find out exactly how Lawrence Countians are consuming their media.

The results were both encouraging and eye opening.

Fifty four percent of those polled read The Tribune regularly. This beats all of our competitors — print or otherwise — and gets significantly higher when focusing just on the Ironton area.

Here is a snapshot of the respondents who were chosen completely at random from across the county, the questions asked and what we found out.

Who took the survey?

Ages 18-34: 26 percent

Ages 35-64: 53 percent

Ages 65 and older: 20 percent

Fifty two percent of the respondents were female.


Which of the following have you used, read or listened to in the past month?

The Tribune: 54 percent

TV news (all stations): 38 percent

Internet search engines: 33 percent

Local radio: 30 percent

Facebook: 26 percent


Which have you used in the past month to make local purchasing decisions?

The Tribune: 41 percent

Local TV (all stations): 29 percent

Local radio (all stations): 21 percent

Direct mail: 20 percent

Yellow pages: 19 percent

Just to provide some perspective, only 47 percent of the country watched the 2012 Super Bowl, according to Nielson ratings.

Community newspapers like The Tribune are just as relevant today as they ever were, in some ways maybe even more so, than ever before.

The Internet and social media allow for information to be spread unfiltered and unverified very rapidly. This can be advantageous but also very dangerous.

Recent rumors about the deaths of some celebrities including Morgan Freeman and George Jones reached tens of thousands of people in minutes. What is the problem? Both are alive and well.

There is no longer any confusion about his death, but this certainly would have brought a chuckle to famed author Mark Twain, a man who made many quotes that the rumors of his demise had been greatly exaggerated.

The same goes for newspapers, especially hyper-local community ones like The Tribune.

Regardless of the format there always will be a need for professional information gatherers who can vet sources, verify information and strive for fairness.

Technology isn’t likely to ever change that.


Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.

  • mickakers

    Michael Caldwell; Am I allowed a second PS? Journalists and Journalism are close to my heart. I had a brother who was a Newspaperman and City Police Officer, a son having a degree in History and Journalism and a very good friend, Stan Champer who retired from the Ashland Independent. Whereas Newsprint used to be the primary source of information, sad to say, this is not the case anymore. I have noticed a drastic decline in subscriptions to the St. Augustine Record in my community. I will concede the fact that the Record cannot hold a candle in quality compared to the Tribune, this could have something to do with the decline. My compliments to you and your staff. I would much rather have newsprint on my hands than a bad back from setting in front of a computer. Reading, comprehending and enjoying a newspaper takes a bit of leisure. In our fast paced society, do people have the time to take pleasure in reading a newspaper? I feel it is absolutely imperative that the members of the Newsprint media be flexible and willing to adjust to the new technologies.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    As a PS: Speaking of technology, these ads creeping in from the side are irritating, there must be a better way.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    I liked the comment “Regardless of the format there always will be a need for professional information gatherers who can vet sources, verify information and strive for fairness.” Technology will not change that fact. What technology has and will change, is how that information is primarily presented.

    (Report comment)

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