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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 01:17 PM ET, 03/12/2009

Avoid Heartache, Buy the Paper

A new poll out today shows that most Americans would miss their local newspaper if it shut down, and about three-quarters said such a loss would hurt civic life in their communities.

Majorities across age categories in the poll conducted by the Pew Research Center said they'd personally miss it "a lot" or "some" if their local paper closed down, although older adults were far more apt to say the pain would be deep.

Attracting younger readers has long presented a steep challenge for print newspapers, and while these new data may be encouraging to the industry - 72 percent of those under 40 said the closure of local papers would harm civic life - there are also familiar warning signs. While 52 percent of those not yet 40 said they'd personally feel the loss, nearly as many, 48 percent, said they'd miss it "not much" or "not at all."

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If your local newspaper shut down...

How much would it hurt civic life? A LOT/SOME 74%

How much would you miss it? A LOT/SOME 58%

Pew takes a decidedly different angle on their data, choosing to focus on the 26 percent of Americans who said they would "not at all" miss their local paper if it shuttered and the 16 percent who said "not much," instead of the larger numbers who said they'd miss it "a lot" (33 percent) or "some" (25 percent).

By  |  01:17 PM ET, 03/12/2009

Categories:  Polls

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