While the newspaper industry continues to struggle, not everyone is hurting. Small newspapers that have a circulation below 50,000 (via Romenesko) continue to perform well. It's not too hard to see why. While large newspapers face plenty of competition on the web, small newspapers, with their focus on local news, remain fairly insulated. For advertisers looking to reach these small markets, the newspaper remains the best, if not only, choice. Publishers also say they benefit from a certain level of intimacy and familiarity with the readership that's difficult for others to match. Of course this begs the question: do these newspapers have a sustainable advantage, or is it only a matter of time before the fate that's befallen their larger kin visits them, as well? There's no doubt that a lot of companies are looking to get into local advertising and content online, although so far none seem to have fully cracked the code. Local newspapers that rest on their laurels and assume that the community will always be there to support them will get blindsided when better online options emerge. The companies that succeed will be the ones that actually take to heart the rhetoric about knowing the audience and delivering them something of value. Of course, they'll have to keep innovating, particularly on the web, since that's where the competition is going to come from, but they have the advantage of getting to see how the larger papers stumbled, so they should at least know what not to do.
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