Pennsylvania newspapers are a powerful force. Our mission today is no different from that of our predecessors: To provide taxpayers and residents with reliable news and information that is vital to them so they can make informed decisions about their lives, families and communities. What has changed are the methods of messaging, still firmly entrenched in printed newspapers, and augmented by news websites and social media to make the industry’s multi-faceted nationwide reach unprecedented.
Our industry was $ 1.3 billion in 2020, according to a newly released report commissioned by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, our trading organization that represents more than 350 print, digital and news media members nationwide (including LNP | LancasterOnline) contributes to the economy of the state. Economic analysis shows that our industry’s state and local tax bill was $ 51.8 million. The numbers show that the Pennsylvania newspapers are diligently working to support commerce and industry in our individual communities through coverage and countless promotional opportunities.
The vital relevance of our work is shown in the reporting. Reporters, editors, photographers, videographers, designers, and artists across the state continue to bring Pennsylvania residents breaking news and information that affects their daily lives, including life-saving public health information about the coronavirus pandemic. They report on what happened in the state elections, the economic effects of COVID-19 and other critical and divergent topics. Often times, our editorial offices collaborate on investigations that live up to our role as government watchdogs.
Our commitment to communities comes from within. The Pennsylvania newspaper industry is made up of companies committed to the health and success of the cities, counties, suburbs and rural areas where we make our homes. We’re neighbors, friends, business owners, customers, and volunteers. Pennsylvania Newspapers and their dedicated staff, who number nearly 10,000, contributed $ 3.9 million in charitable giving and volunteered over 100,000 hours worth $ 2.5 million in 2020 alone.
Our course is stable. According to a study by Coda Ventures, we remain the most trusted source for local and credible news. The Poynter Media Trust Survey agrees, noting that the general public trusts mostly local news coverage: 73% of American adults surveyed said they trust their local newspaper, compared with 55% for national network news. We vigorously defend and protect the rights of the First Amendment in a Commonwealth where we provide communities with reliable news and information that will help ensure their quality of life. As we celebrate National Newspaper Week this week, our industry and commitment to the needs of fellow Pennsylvanians is strong as we look to a bright and healthy future.
Brad Simpson is president of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association. This comment was written for National Newspaper Week, which ran October 3rd through today.
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