“New study predicts the death of newspapers in five years.”

In December 2011, that headline appeared on an article about a forthcoming study by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future. The study predicted most print newspapers would be dead in five years.

Today, the Newspapers of West Georgia will begin a campaign titled “Your Community Newspaper.” Through a series of ads published during coming weeks and months, the campaign will tell the story of the evolution and future of community newspapers — not the story of their deaths. Using information from current research, the campaign will share the importance of print and digital newspapers to readers and advertisers. It will be different than the story told by most competing media.

Despite the 5-year-old prediction that most newspapers would be dead by now, the print community newspapers published by the Newspapers of West Georgia — seven in total — are all still alive. Yes, we are doing things differently today than five years ago. Many of our accounting and production operations have been centralized and digital and social media have become a larger part of what we do. But print newspapers and the associated print publications, filled with local news and advertising gathered and sold by professionals working and living in west Georgia, remain our core products.

While fewer in number — due to consolidations similar to those made by other industries — our employees, columnists and contractors continue to be passionate about their roles in providing and delivering trusted local news and believable advertising to the communities we serve.

The production facility at our Carrollton location is busy five nights a week, not only printing and packaging our newspapers, but those of commercial printing customers as well. In the last year, in order to more efficiently package newspapers and advertising supplements, a significant upgrade was made to mailroom equipment at no small cost.

The “Your Community Newspaper” campaign contains information bolstering the belief we will continue to perform this work for years to come, serving and promoting communities in west Georgia, remaining committed to the needs of our readers and advertisers. We believe our vital work of providing residents with information they can trust and our record of helping local businesses to be successful is unmatched by any other medium, a belief supported by the research which will be shared during this campaign.

The campaign’s ads will provide statistics about the strength of print and digital newspaper readership, about newspapers as the main source of local news, about newspapers as a primary source of shopping information, about the trust and believability of newspapers, about the demographics of newspaper readers — yes, millennials read and trust newspapers — and the value of newspaper readers to advertisers.

All of us associated with the Newspapers of West Georgia are excited about our roles in community journalism with a future, and look forward to sharing this information with you as we continue to take great pride in being “your community newspaper.”

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