New Zealanders get more information about their town from the local community newspaper than any other source, according to new research.
Commissioned as part of a 2degrees research project, the survey asked more than 2000 New Zealanders how they are communicating in their communities and the role technology plays in the way they connect.
The results revealed that around a third of Kiwis rate local newspapers and magazines as the best source of local news, while online sources like community social media pages/chat groups lag behind on 23 per cent.
Nelson Weekly is the only locally-owned newspaper in the city.
The survey’s findings around community newspapers struck a chord with a former mayor Sir Bob Harvey who, after more than 27 years in local government, has witnessed first-hand the important role of community press in setting the local agenda.
“I can’t overstate the importance of community papers and community journalism in ensuring the health and wellbeing of communities in Aotearoa,” says Sir Bob.
“Community papers provide channelled advocacy of important local issues in a way that isn’t mirrored simply by residents chatting on a community Facebook page. They also champion issues and stories that would escape the attention of the mainstream media.”
The Community Newspaper Association of New Zealand has more than 80 independent newspapers associated with it. Its president Dave McKenzie says the results aren’t surprising but are welcomed.
“It’s great research which supports what we see every day over the country. Independent newspapers are a trusted source of local knowledge.”
2degrees CEO Stewart Sherriff says the research has provided interesting reading.
“As a telco we’re deeply interested in how Kiwis communicate, and where they get their information from. The role of the community paper in informing, supporting and championing our communities is obviously something many Kiwis still hold dear.”