Study: 82 Percent of Tennessee Adults Read Newspapers


The results from the 2020 TPS Media Group study of readership habits confirms that Tennesseans are turning to newspapers for reliable information now more than ever. Each month more than 8 out of 10 (82%) adults in Tennessee are depending on newspapers to provide accurate and trustworthy information in this time of Covid-19.

The study, conducted by Coda Ventures, shows that during the Covid-19 pandemic, when accurate information is more important to everyday decisions, newspapers are the preferred source for most adults.

"Understanding readership behavior is essential, and it is essential too that the large and influential print readership base is not buried by the relative ease of gathering data about online readership," stated Carol Daniels, Executive Director of the Tennessee Press Association. "We live in an either/and; world, not an 'either/or' one; media consumption is not restricted to one medium or one platform. In our markets, people get their news and information many ways, including printed newspapers, printed magazines."

TPS Media Group and Coda Ventures’ research enables newspapers and advertising buyers to understand the breadth of how people consume media across Tennessee.

"Tennessee newspapers, through their print products and digital platforms are performing stronger than we suspected before the survey, said Daniels. "Eight of ten (81%) of adults in Tennessee told us that they believe advertising in newspapers is important. National research in newspaper reader behavior indicates 35% of readers will take a ‘next step’ when seeing a newspaper advertisement. These numbers make it very clear that newspapers need to be a vital portion of a marketing/communication spend in every industry and we expect these findings would be consistent for readers in other states."

Daniels stated that the readership study is the first one in many years that TPS Media Group has conducted, 

Here are some early findings from the Tennessee research:

Demographic breakdown of readership is:

  • · Gender
    • 52% female/48% male
  • · Age
    • 30% - 18-34
    • 51% - 35-64 
  • · Household makeup
    •  30% have children at home
    •  72% of households have more than one person living there.
  • · Education level
    •  38% college graduate
    •  35% some college
    •  27% high school graduate
  • · Home ownership
    •  62% of readers own their own home
  • Coda also asked survey respondents about how long they have lived in their community, which is not something I have seen often in readership studies.
    • 34% - lived in the community between 5 and 20 years
    • 34% - lived in the community over 20 years
  • These are huge numbers and a reminder that readers are committed to the places they live, which is reflected by the response to a question asking if they feel they have a responsibility to help shape the future of their communities:
    • 76% said they have a their community
  • We also asked respondents about public notices in our newspapers, a subject that comes up each year in the legislature. I am looking forward to sharing the answer with the members of the General Assembly and repeating it often.
    •  72% of readers read the notices in papers most of the time
    • 64% of readers agree that Public Notices should ALWAYS be in their newspapers
  • Survey respondents said newspapers are the number one source that Tennesseans turn to when looking for information about their local governments.
    • 53% of Tennesseans look to their local newspaper before any other media
    • 33% look first to TV/Cable
    • 20% listen first to local radio
  • Newspapers are staying strong by serving their communities. And are doing so by being a trustworthy source for readers.
    • For example, 82% of readers feel their local newspapers are the trustworthy place for public notice advertising.

For more information, contact:
Carol Daniels
Executive Director , Tennessee Press Association
(M) 615.585.0965 |


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