Newsroom employment across the United States continues to decline, driven primarily by job losses at newspapers. And even though digital-native news outlets have experienced some recent growth in employment, too few newsroom positions were added to make up for recent losses in the broader industry, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics survey data.
From 2008 to 2017, newsroom employment in the U.S. dropped by 23%. In 2008, about 114,000 newsroom employees – reporters, editors, photographers and videographers – worked in five industries that produce news: newspaper, radio, broadcast television, cableand “other information services” (the best match for digital-native news publishers). By 2017, that number declined to about 88,000, a loss of about 27,000 jobs.
This decline in overall newsroom employment was driven primarily by one sector: newspapers. Newspaper newsroom employees dropped by 45% over the period, from about 71,000 workers in 2008 to 39,000 in 2017.Douglas McIntyre at 24/7 Wall St.:
The final hope for most newspaper publishers to increase revenue is to get the consumer to pay for online subscriptions. This means turning many newspaper sites that offered free access to ones with paywalls. According to media experts, the Minneapolis Star Tribune has done an excellent job of this. It has 55,000 paid subscribers. However, this compares to the online paper’s 7 million unique monthly visitors. Even a successful digital subscription campaign, this shows, has posted the most modest success.
What newspapers have been able to charge online subscribers is low, in most cases. A case in point, which is reflective of industry pricing, is that the Salt Lake Tribune charges $7.99 for a digital subscription. A 12-week subscription to the print version of the paper costs $90. Digital pricing is often lower than pricing for print editions.
If the layoffs that began last year as revenue across the industry dropped about 10% are any indication of what papers have to do to maintain margins, then the second quarter of 2018 should see the sector’s revenue drop at a similar pace.