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SURVEY BY KETCHUM PUBLIC RELATIONS REVEALS WIDE EFFECTS OF NEWSPAPER STRIKE

 PITTSBURGH, Nov. 20 ~PRNewswire~ -- A survey by Ketchum Public Relations reveals that the six-month-old strike against The Pittsburgh Press, which also has affected publication of the Post-Gazette, has temporarily changed consumers' news habits, but may have affected some retailers' advertising strategies permanently.
 The research also shows that consumers believe the strike has contributed to an unfavorable image of Pittsburgh to the rest of the nation.
 "One of the more surprising facts was that 88 percent of the consumers we polled said they would support any daily newspaper that would begin publishing in Pittsburgh," said Larry Werner, executive vice president and director of Ketchum Public Relations, Pittsburgh. "People told us they just want a local daily paper, whether it's produced by the Post-Gazette, The Pittsburgh Press or some other publisher."
 Although 58 percent of the consumers polled said they have turned to television as their top news source during the strike, the willingness to return to a daily newspaper if the strike ends was indicated unconditionally by 62 percent, with another 16 percent uncommitted. Of those unwilling to commit to returning to the paper, a portion of those were swayed by union sentiments -- pro or con.
 When asked how the strike has affected their lives or their businesses, more than half of the consumers polled and exactly half of the retailers polled responded "a great deal" or "severely."
 Sixty-two percent of the consumers and 56 percent of the retailers said the strike, combined with recent strikes at USAir and the Port Authority Transit, has given the rest of the nation the impression that Pittsburgh has an unfavorable labor climate.
 The strike has had a mixed effect on advertising. Many of the large, traditional newspaper advertisers said they will return to newspaper ads when the strike ends. However, when asked if they had found other methods for reaching their audiences that would permanently change their advertising spending habits, 32 percent of the smaller retailers said "yes," 33 percent said "maybe" and 35 percent said "no." Postal officials indicated mail carriers are struggling with the extra weight of increased direct mail advertising supplements.
 "Some segments of retail businesses have been helped by the strike," added Werner. "Realtors are busier now that buyers and sellers are almost forced to seek their help. Some car dealers told us it is easier to monitor competitors' sales, pricing and inventory because local advertising is basically limited to just one paper -- the Tribune-Review of Greensburg, Pa.
 Many respondents found it regrettable that they live in a city fortunate enough to have successful teams in three major professional sports and yet have no coverage of the teams' seasons. Males surveyed ranked sports as the newspaper feature they missed most while females missed local news most.
 The strike's impact was notable for some readers who said they wanted more information to make an educated choice in the recent presidential election but lacked the coverage of the campaign normally provided by a daily newspaper.
 The survey revealed some disagreement between consumers and retailers. Nearly 80 percent of consumers said that the strike had no effect on their shopping habits. Yet, nine out of 10 retailers surveyed said their businesses had declined since the strike began. Some retailers did add that the drop-off of sales also could be attributed to recessionary times. Nearly 40 percent of the consumers believe the strike has impacted their entertainment options because of the effort required to determine what is available and when.
 In an attempt to measure the strike's effect on people's lifestyles, the survey probed five lifestyle areas. The responses indicated 40 percent said they had missed a good television program, 39 percent had missed a good sale at a favorite store, 32 percent found out too late that someone they knew had died and 21 percent had arrived late for a movie or some other entertainment~sports event. Women, in particular, said they missed reading the obituary section, and twice as many women as men said the strike had disrupted their social~dating life.
 Retailers have managed to circumvent the newspaper strike's effects by advertising in supplements, television and radio. Most are optimistic that Christmas shopping will sustain their business, bringing customers to the store without advertisements. In some cases, the lack of a newspaper has reduced advertising budgets, while some are experimenting with other methods of advertising. Some retail service industries are benefiting by the narrower advertising choices available.
 Having been involved with the successful "Save the Pirates" campaign of several years ago, Ketchum Public Relations recently had discussed a similar idea for saving the newspapers with the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse and the law firm of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott.
 Ketchum then commissioned this survey not only to determine how the Pittsburgh newspaper strike is affecting the people and businesses of the community, but also to make it clear to interested investors the great need for a daily Pittsburgh paper.
 The surveyed area covered Allegheny County and neighboring, borderline communities. Care was taken to ensure that the results had no demographic, geographic, age or occupation bias.
 -0- 11~20~92
 ~EDITORS: A complete summary report of the research findings, including charts and graphs, can be obtained by contacting Chuck Glazer at 412-456-3864, or Pam Rocco at 412-456-3568.~
 ~CONTACT: Charles T. Glazer of Ketchum Public Relations, 412-456-3864~


CO: Ketchum Public Relations; The Pittsburgh Press; Post-Gazette ST: Pennsylvania IN: ADV PUB SU:

CD-SM -- PG001 -- 3245 11~20~92 09:00 EST
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Date:Nov 20, 1992
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