Last week, MediaRadar reported print advertising had fallen by 13% between January and April 2018. Advertisers that dropped print campaigns didn’t do so as they moved into digital. Rather, they stopped print spending entirely.
Now, The Pew Research Center is reporting that the number of newsroom employees has taken a similarly devastating hit over the past decade. According to a new study, newsroom employment declined by 23% between 2008 and 2017.
In 2008, newsrooms counted around 114,000 employees, including reporters, editors, photographers and videographers. However, by 2017, that number had dropped to around 88,000, a loss of about 27,000 jobs.
The jobs spanned five industries: newspaper, radio, broadcast television, cable and other information services, which Pew counts as the closest match for digital-native news publishers.
The industry to see the biggest decline was newspapers. Its endured a 45% employee loss over the period. In 2017, Pew counted 39,000 workers, down from 71,000 in 2008.
Notable job growth was reported in the digital-native news sector, where employment increased by 79% — from 7,400 workers in 2008 to 13,000 in 2017. However, those numbers weren’t enough to make up for the loss experienced by other newsrooms.
The study offers a stark illustration of what publications are up against today. With fewer ad dollars to support quality journalism, robust newsrooms are on the endangered list.
Despite the gains to digital-native news publishers, news of frequent layoffs and restructuring across media organizations underscores another reality:Such jobs aren’t secure, either.
The industry sector showing the most gains may be in the most perilous position in the future. The duopoly of Facebook and Google — with Amazon not too far behind — controls access to much needed ad dollars.
However, digital media has also shown itself to be inventive when discovering new ways to derive much needed monetary support from audiences. Membership programs, paid newsletters, paywalls and in-house content studios are adding revenue in a tumultuous atmosphere.
Still, those efforts haven’t proven to be financially sufficient. Hopefully, as the industry re-calibrates how news is created and supported, additional financial models will stop the hemorrhaging of critical jobs.