2012 Local Newspapers Report

Insights into how Australians engage with regional newspapers based on the 2012 Local Newspapers Report.

Our research found that Australians have a clear understanding of the unique roles that the three tiers of newspaper publishing (national/metro, regional and community) play in their lives and how they meet different needs. regional-newspapers-research-article

While national and large metro newspapers provide their readers with a world view and are seen as the authority on the big picture issues, regional newspaper readers say their newspaper plays the role of a trusted advocate, with its finger on the pulse of local concerns.

The research revealed that Australians see regional newspapers as driving the regional agenda and protecting readers’ interests.

Readers also consider that regional newspapers follow important stories that would not receive coverage elsewhere, and are seen as more reliable, honest and unbiased than any other local media. The research demonstrated that regional newspapers are perceived to take a stand and protect the interests of readers on community issues.

Key findings:

Readers engage more deeply with regional newspapers compared with TV and radio:

  • Twice as likely to have enquired about a product or service because of a newspaper ad than one played on local radio.
  • Nearly twice as likely to have visited a store or business because of a newspaper ad vs local TV.

Regional newspapers provide superior coverage of important local news, issues and practical local information:

  • Twice as likely to stand up for important issues in their local area than local TV (71% compared with 36% for local TV).

Readers are more likely to act on, keep or share content in regional newspapers compared to TV, radio or letterbox catalogues/flyers:

  • Three times more likely to keep details of a newspaper ad than they are from letterbox flyers and catalogues (46% compared with 14% for letterbox flyers/catalogues).
  • Nearly three times as likely to share something with family and friends than if they heard it on local radio or seen on local TV (48% compared with 14% for local radio and15% for local TV).

The majority of readers are more positive towards regional newspaper advertisers and responsive to advertiser messages

  • More than twice the feelings of positivity towards advertisers in regional newspapers than is the case with local TV, local radio or letterbox flyers (54% compared with 24% for local TV, 25% for local radio and 18% for catalogues/flyers).

Click here to view video interviews revealing greater insight insight into how Australians engage with regional newspapers.

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Community newspapers, on the other hand, are where readers turn to for information on getting involved in their community and are held strongly in the hearts of readers.

Key findings:

Community newspapers are a handy reference as they provide practical local information in a convenient-to-use format:

  • Nearly twice as practical as information provided by local TV or local radio and letterbox flyers (63% vs 34% for local TV, 30% for local radio and 29% for letterbox flyers).

Younger readers value the relevant and practical content of community newspapers and use them to learn about local events and activities:

  • Almost three times as relevant as information provided by local radio for 18-24 year olds (70% vs 25%)
  • Over twice as relevant as information provided via social media for 18-24 year olds (70% vs 32%).


Readers are far more likely to act on community newspaper content versus something they hear on radio or see on outdoor advertising:

  • More than three times as likely to visit a store or business because of a newspaper ad compared with one seen on local TV and almost twice as likely as letterbox catalogues and flyers (62% vs 17% for local TV).
  • More than ten times as likely to enquire about a product or service as a result of a newspaper ad compared with outdoor advertising (61% compared with 5% for outdoor advertising).


Readers are much more likely to feel good about community newspaper advertisers, versus advertisers who leave ‘junk mail’:  

More than three times as positively disposed towards newspaper advertisers than those that advertise via letterbox flyers and catalogues (58% compared with 18% for letterbox flyers/catalogues).


Readers agree that their community newspaper is an important part of the identity of their neighbourhood:

  • More than three times more likely to consider their local area would be worse off without their newspaper than local TV or radio (74% compared with 20% for local TV and 24% for local radio).

Click here to view video interviews revealing greater insight insight into how Australians engage with community newspapers.

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Download the full report below along with charts breaking down the research.

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