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Oct. 28, 2021 | Thursday
Local News
Survey shows The Lake Report is #1 among NOTL readers
Rick and Carol McIntosh with their prize gift certificate for a three-course dinner for two at Ravine Vineyard Restaurant. They won the draw for participating in The Lake Report’s readership survey in October. (Richard Harley/Niagara Now)

Kevin MacLean

Managing Editor

We asked and you answered. 

Nearly 500 readers participated in The Lake Report’s first readership survey this fall and we are indebted to you for the exceptional feedback and suggestions we received.

We also are impressed with how much trust and faith you put in The Lake Report and the fact you demand, expect and turn to our paper for the most accurate and comprehensive news coverage of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

It’s a tall order and we strive to live up to your expectations. 

In addition to your comments and critiques, you told us what we knew anecdotally from the comments we hear from people all over town every week: You really love The Lake Report and look to us to bring you the news, features, information and advertising  about what is going on in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

And you said unequivocally that, more than any other publication in Niagara Region, our newspaper is where you turn to know about your community.

We appreciate the faith you have put in our almost two-year-old newspaper, and we promise to continue doing the things you have told us are important to you.

In designing our readership survey, we needed to ensure the questions and data analysis were fair and balanced. So, we turned to the professionals.

The survey was overseen by NOTL retiree Steve Ferley, former president of Canada’s Print Measurement Bureau. He brought to the project his years of experience in providing media research and readership information to Canada’s newspapers, magazines and ad agencies.

Having Ferley’s guidance “just adds a whole new layer of credibility and accuracy to our results, knowing we had a professional carve out our questions, organize the survey, and help us with the analytics,” said editor-in-chief Richard Harley.

He was happy with the overwhelmingly positive reaction from readers. “It’s always a bit nerve-wracking putting yourself out there for open feedback, but it’s extremely rewarding to know people really love our paper, and that people want us to keep doing exactly what we’re doing,”

“We have, since the beginning, strived to be the gold standard for community papers, recognizing that publications around the country are suffering. Now, ‘hyper-local’ papers like ours are proving themselves to be sustainable across the nation, at a time when trustworthy local news is demanded, perhaps more than it ever has been.”

Among the survey’s key findings: 

* 80 per cent of Niagara-on-the-Lake residents prefer The Lake Report for NOTL news and information.

* 75 per cent of The Lake Report readers read the paper every week.

* 73 per cent of The Lake Report readers usually read 75 per cent or more of the paper.

* 78 per cent of The Lake Report readers live in NOTL for all or most of the year.

* 74 per cent of The Lake Report readers rate the paper 8, 9 or 10 for enjoyment (1-10 scale).

* 60 per cent of The Lake Report readers are female.

* 52 per cent of The Lake Report readers spend over $3,000 on annual vacation and travel.

“These days there are so many ways to receive feedback, from comment sections on social media, to word of mouth in a small town,” Harley said. “But it’s not the same as hard data. Knowing we can really put our name behind these numbers is a big accomplishment and it shows us that our paper really resonates with people.”

Our young journalists, numerous volunteers and staff, the vast majority of whom live here in Niagara-on-the-Lake, are dedicated to the community.

“We’ve taken the hole that was created with the demise of the Niagara Advance, and filled it with a newspaper NOTLers can open up and find filled with stories that matter to them.”