Newspaper Society president Sir Nicholas Hewitt warned "doom-mongers" not to overstate the effect of the internet on classified advertising.
In the regional newspaper trade body's annual report, he said: "The combination of print and internet is a powerful one. Local newspapers' strengths are the internet's weaknesses: trust, relevance, browsability.
"The internet gives local newspapers the ability to reach out to new audiences. And localness is the key to both.
The challenge for publishers will be to maintain and build on our position as the best provider of local news and information, including advertising information, both in print and online."