If the internet is killing newspapers (that’s IF), then wouldn’t newspapers be doing well in areas where internet connections are hard to come by and other old-media competition is scarce? Well, perhaps, says the blog Confessions of a Newsosaur.

The principal advantage enjoyed by most small papers is a degree of isolation from competing media, thus giving them the opportunity to be the leading vehicles for information and advertising in their communities.

Most small and medium papers have no meaningful print competitors. Typically, broadcast competition consists of a few local radio stations or television signals piped in from a neighboring area.

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While isolation is a good thing when the local economy is going well, it can be devastating if something goes wrong.

If a community relies heavily on a particular mining operation, manufacturing complex, call center, prison or agricultural specialty, then bad news at the principal economic engine in town can be devastating for the paper.

Because small and medium papers are particularly dependent on advertising from local retailers, the arrival of a new Wal-Mart has been known to mortally wound the business of many a Main Street merchant even if the diversified local economy is doing perfectly well.

A number of rural papers face not just economic, but also demographic, exposure. That’s because non-metro communities have aged more rapidly than the urban markets since the 1960s.

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