Why it still pays to subscribe the the daily local paper

A bit less than a year ago, we started subscribing to the daily newspaper once again. It had been a while for me, personally. It wasn’t so much that I had given up on daily news–it was just that:

1) I read the paper at work, or,

2) I just didn’t have time (two little kids will do that to your “free time”)

Newspaper

So, we subscribed to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Got off to a bit of a bumpy ride, but since then it’s been a coup for my wife and I. Personally, it’s been a much better way to get local news (rather than TV–sorry KARE-11). Much more in-depth (obviously) and better coverage of local (Minneapolis-based) events and news that impacts us. And, much like our decision to cut the cable cord, it’s meant less time watching TV, which has been a nice by-product.

But, it’s also played a nice role for me professionally, too.

Subscribing to the daily paper is now seen as a thing of the past. Something “old” people do (please, no jokes). Younger people barely know what a “newspaper” is anymore (I wish that were a joke).

But, despite all that, it’s been a big win for me so far. Here’s why:

Opportunities to recognize colleagues

At least a few times a week, I run across articles that mention a colleague or highlight a business they work for, in the paper. I use that as an opportunity to send these folks a quick note saying I saw them/their company in the paper, along with a short note/take on the article. This gives me a nice opportunity to connect with colleagues (referral sources/leads for me) and say “Hey, I’m thinking about you.” Makes a bigger impression than you might think.

Old-school clips for local clients (and colleagues)

Do 20-somethings even know what “clips” are? Sorry–rhetorical question :) But, getting the hard-copy paper gives you the chance to do just that–physically clip articles out of the paper, draw up a hand-written note and send it to a client or colleague. Again, great way to stand out from your competition (whoever that may be–job-seekers, other agencies/consultants, etc.)

Study local media

This is one of those old phrases I heard about growing up in this business. “Consume as much media as you can–and study it.” You’ll notice media consumption is a big habit with many PR folks–and rightfully so. Since we’re working with the media so closely, it pays to know what beats these people cover. Their writing style. And, what they’ve written about in the past. All of which I’ve learned–and then some–by reading the Strib each day. When reading an article, don’t simply read it–study the style, notice who wrote the piece and keep mental notes on other topics they write about, and even consider sending the writer a tweet or email telling them you enjoyed the article. Media love to be recognized just like you do :)

 

Learn to love the Business section

When I was growing up reading the paper, the first section I read was always the sports section. I know I’m not alone in that. As I grew older, I started reading the “Life” and “A” sections. But, I rarely read the Business section. Too many buzzwords and I never really understood much of the language. That was, until I started working for a accounting/consulting firm. I then started reading the Business section (as well as the Wall Street Journal) regularly. And you know what? I liked it. Once I dove it, and started to understand the lingo a bit more, I really got interested in the business world. Nowadays, I read the Business section FIRST. My point? Don’t limit your horizons with the paper–expand them! Learn to read the WHOLE paper–no matter how painful it might be. You’ll most likely learn something that will come in handy in a meeting or conversation in the weeks ahead.

So, that’s why I think it still pays to subscribe to the daily local paper. What about you? Are you a daily subscriber to your local fishwrap? Have anything to add to my list here?

26 comments
ellenm53
ellenm53

Hi, Arik. I'll add two more reasons to read the daily newspaper -

 

#1. It would be embarrassing to be at lunch with other professionals who begin talking about something on today's inside front page and you have not idea what they're talking about. And:

 

#2. If we don't support our daily newspapers, who will?

 

This was excellent advice that I'm going to share with the P. R. Principles students here at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

 

~Ellen Mrja

David Kostik
David Kostik

Enjoyed this post! I'm not ashamed to admit I'm one of the old school - still missing 2 Minneapolis papers a day. The other point to think about is the newspaper gives me a broader perspective on my community and the world. Perhaps this is just me, but when I go to online news sources I find myself in a pretty targeted mindset - I have a relatively narrow browsing focus. Flipping printed pages leads me to stories that I would never look for or stumble across online.

NatalieBushaw
NatalieBushaw

Reading the paper completes my day--or starts it off right--depending on when I get to it.  For me, it's a must for all of the reasons you noted and one more, which is showing my kids the value of reading the paper, going through stories, learning new things, etc.  You can imagine my dismay when we recently moved and neither the Strib or PiPress had anyone on our route (new development).  Thank God for PiPress columnist and reporter Molly Guthrey who solved that for me in no time after I tried for two days!

 

While I appreciate all the digital age has to offer, I find the paper to be one way to engage myself and family in conversation.  Nice post.

mjkeliher
mjkeliher

I'm 30 years old and I've been a consistent newspaper subscriber -- with about 2 total years off -- since I was about 21. Love it. And I agree with pretty much everything you said above.

josephrueter
josephrueter

Seems most of the other media types are more influenced by newspaper editorial decisions vs. the other way around. Also, I dig the fact that a physical layout forces a competition for visual priority. There are only so many square inches to allocate (vs. functionally unlimited pixels, etc). Editors have to spend those inches with priority. Moreover, they have to decide once a day what's worth including in their bounded set of what's important now because of the print deadline. The constraints empower the reading experience in different ways than digital media. That's why I still subscribe. Now, if they could just get the last 50 feet to take a similar stance and care they could reliably deliver it to the door!

Humbledaisy1
Humbledaisy1

@JenPioneerPress We are a three nsppr home but college grad/live at home daughter only watches tv. Think her brain shrunk by Kardashians.

annelizhannan
annelizhannan

Agree with all your reasons and as with the cotton commercial, 'the feel the touch the fabric' of my morning life;)  I also like the smell.

CathyBrooks
CathyBrooks

@arikhanson I'm an ardent reader of dead wood too. Local = daily and on Sundays the entire NYT :)

vedo
vedo

@arikhanson just catching up re: post. Sure thing. We went digital subscription w/ local paper. May not be long before we go back to print.

arikhanson
arikhanson moderator

 @annelizhannan no web site/blog will ever replicate the experience of reading the Sunday paper on my porch...

CathyBrooks
CathyBrooks

@SarahMastrian was raised in a home that got two AM papers AND the afternoon paper so life w/o it feels empty :)