Elizabeth Grieco at Pew:
Newsroom employment at U.S. newspapers continues to plummet, falling by around half since 2008, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But a modest increase in jobs after 2014 in other news-producing sectors – especially digital-native organizations – offset some of the losses at newspapers, helping to stabilize the overall number of U.S. newsroom employees in the last five years.
The years covered in the current analysis predate the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. The economic effects of the virus have led to a fresh round of layoffs, pay cuts and other changes at U.S. media outlets, especially newspapers.
From 2008 to 2019, overall newsroom employment in the U.S. dropped by 23%, according to the new analysis. In 2008, there were about 114,000 newsroom employees – reporters, editors, photographers and videographers – in five industries that produce news: newspaper, radio, broadcast television, cable and “other information services” (the best match for digital-native news publishers). By 2019, that number had declined to about 88,000, a loss of about 27,000 jobs.
The bulk of the decline in total newsroom employment occurred in the first half of the period. Between 2008 and 2014, the number of newsroom employees dropped to 90,000, a loss of about 24,000 jobs. After 2014, the number of newsroom employees stabilized, averaging about 88,000 workers through 2019, with little to no change over the five-year period.
The long-term decline in newsroom employment has been driven primarily by one sector: newspapers. The number of newspaper newsroom employees dropped by 51% between 2008 and 2019, from about 71,000 workers to 35,000.Now things are much worse as advertising has dried up. Recent weeks have seen newspaper closures.