Guest Opinion: How Many Minnesotans Read Newspapers? – Brainerd Expedition

Minnesota is home to 14,000 lakes, 12,000 loons, 135,000 seasonal lake cabins and 3.9 million newspaper readers. Oh good?

Matt McMillan

Really. Each month, 86% of Minnesota adults read print and online editions of newspapers, according to new Minnesota market research conducted by Coda Ventures. The study measures the media use and buying behavior of Minnesota adults across urban and rural zip codes (see full-page ad in this issue).

Minnesota’s 3.9 million newspaper readership may not surprise you. After all, you’re reading a newspaper right now. You are one of the majority of Minnesotans who enjoy local news and announcements from your newspaper.

Who are these 3.9 million Minnesota newspaper readers? Coda reports:

  • 78% are under 65,
  • 68% are owners,
  • 77% believe they have a responsibility to shape the future of their communities,
  • 77% vote in local elections, 84% vote in state and national elections,
  • 80% think newspaper advertising is important
  • 69% take action as a result of newspaper advertising,
  • 57% use newspapers to decide which products to buy,
  • 72% have lived in the community for 5 years or more,
  • 91% of people who contact elected officials/community leaders, and
  • 92% of people plan to attend local events such as festivals, fairs, concerts, sporting events and bars

Minnesotans said they rely on local newspapers as their primary source for news and information about schools, local government, high school sports, local entertainment, candidate/voting issues, crime and violence. security.
Minnesotans also rely on newspapers for local advertising. Most, 69%, said they were taking action on newspaper ads.

Minnesotans set the bar high in many areas. Think about it. Gopher State has the highest voter turnout in the country, not to mention an impressive variety of Paul Bunyan statues and the largest ball of string collected by a single man.

The high readership of Minnesota newspapers and the measures taken for newspaper advertisements are impressive. It makes sense that voting readers want to learn about local elections, the candidates running, and local issues from a trusted local news source. Savvy candidates and businesses buy ads from those same news pages where 80% of its readers think newspaper ads are important.

Minnesota is home to 275 newspapers. Unlike other states, each of Minnesota’s 87 counties has a newspaper. Most counties have several newspapers. And many newspapers are hiring. Oh good? Visit www.mna.org/member-classified to see dozens of current job postings.

However, some cities in the United States and Minnesota do not have community newspapers. Studies reveal that cities and counties without community newspapers pay higher taxes because no reporters monitor local governments, have lower voter turnout, have fewer candidates running for office, and more partisanship.

Minnesota’s 3.9 million newspaper readers could fill US Bank Stadium’s 73,000 seats 53 times and still have a line. Image 53 US Bank Stadiums. That’s a lot of readers. And Minnesota newspaper readers nearly doubled the 2 million visitors to the Minnesota State Fair.

The pandemic has been difficult for many businesses. But Minnesotans’ desire for local news and shopping has grown. Many newspapers have seen a 30% increase in the number of online readers looking for local health and school news. During the same pandemic period, many Minnesota newspapers also increased their subscriptions. Community members, like you, have felt the need or desire to support their hometown and their hometown newspaper. This buy-in to local news and taking action on newspaper ads is likely reflected in these strong survey results. How strong?

Imagine 3.9 million other Minnesotans — just like you — who care. You are the power behind your community. You are the power of community newspapers. Together, we are the power of healthy communities. Really.

Matt McMillan is CEO of Press Publications, Northstar Media, Kanabec Publications, Sentinel Publications and Publishers Printing Service, Inc.

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