Local news media connect consumers to their communities

Recent research reveals that consumers have a high level of trust for local community newspapers. Consumers look to community newspapers for essential news about COVID-19, to a greater extent than television and social media networks. Local news media provided consumers with a feeling of hope and comfort when they were feeling scared about the state of the pandemic, while also further connecting them to their community.

In a recent study by the Whitman Insight Strategies Initiative and Creative Circle Media Solutions, they explore how the pandemic has affected the feelings and emotions of local media consumers. This study was coined “The COVID-19 Societal Impact Study”. “People are starved for content and connections. That’s why community media have so much to gain,” said Bernard Whitman, president and founder of Whitman Insight Strategies.

When it comes to advertising during the pandemic, however, The COVID-19 Societal Impact Study revealed that consumers were not responding well to certain types of ads. 72% of respondents felt that the ads “all look the same” and almost 80% wanted information about what the advertiser stands for, rather than simply product and service promotion.

Community newspapers are local and authentic, providing an excellent opportunity for businesses that want to get away from their traditional advertising techniques that don’t seem to be working during the pandemic. “You can’t push product. Focus on company values,” said Whitman. “Don’t just say what your values are, talk about how you express your values. We’re telling all our clients to go local. And local media are the perfect partner.”

Newly-released Canadian data from Totum Research shows similar results, in that 39% of Canadians believe that newspapers have trustworthy information about COVID-19. Canadians want to see more positive stories (45%) and tips on how to stay healthy (37%). One in ten Canadians also claimed to want to see more opportunities for volunteering reflected in local newspapers.