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Rumors of demise just wrong

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 mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.