WADENA – As the publisher of three newspapers, the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal, it is frustrating to hear someone say that newspapers are dying – that nobody reads newspapers anymore, or that advertising with the newspaper does not work. It doesn’t give you as much bang for your buck as it did in the good old days. None of these things are true. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
The Wadena Pioneer Journal as well as wadenapj.com have more readership than ever in the history of the newspaper, including the glory days of PJ and Intercom. Wadenapj.com reached 516,187 people in the United States in the last 12 months. Yes, you read this issue correctly. This equates to over 43,000 different people per month. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When you add the power of all of Forum Communications’ digital offerings, the number of people you want to reach is limitless. We are the leader in digital news delivery in the region.
We are also reaching more people, in more age groups than ever before. Google Analytics for wadenapj.com shows that over 19% of our readers are aged 55-64, just under 19% are between 45-54 and 35-44, just over 18%: 25- 34 years old, 65+ 15% and 18-24 years old. represent just over 10% of our online readership. Our print readership leans towards the older demographics.
I have worked in the press for over 22 years. During this time, I have witnessed so many changes! I am so grateful to work for a company that realized these changes early on and started investing heavily in our digital platforms as well as our content. Forum Communications is on the cutting edge when it comes to providing timely news and information to its readers. Yet we struggle to bridge the gap between old and new, print with digital, and drive home the importance of local journalism in our communities.
It’s no secret that many newspapers have disappeared over the past 10 years. COVID has added more closures at an alarming rate. Most were small weekly newspapers, which is devastating for the communities that lost them.
In a recent Poynter Institute paper, when communities lose their local newspaper, they also lose transparency and accountability to their local governments. Research shows that taxes go up and voter turnout goes down. After all, who else attends your city council and school board meetings? Who digests this information and presents it in a clear way to keep the public informed?
The printed version of the Wadena Pioneer Journal now has fewer pages than in the past. We no longer have the space to include all the press releases sent to us. We strive to fill our news hole with content that matters and is relevant to our weekly print readers. But the good news in all of this is that we have unlimited space on wadenapj.com and we have more online readers than print readers (many read both), the information is released to the public. Just in a different way.
Whether you support us with your advertising dollars, buy a subscription, or buy a copy of the PJ from the newsstand, we are grateful to those of you who have supported us through this journey of change. Your investment helps promote the community of Wadena and surrounding areas by supporting the work we do. We thank you.