The number of people working in digital newsrooms surged in the past decade, but that growth wasn’t enough to offset steep declines in newspaper and radio employment. In contrast, the
headcount for broadcast and cable television newsrooms was fairly stable, a study found.
Digital-native newsroom employment more than doubled from 7,400 in 2008 to about
18,000 last year, according to Pew Research Center’s analysis
of data from the
Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The gains for digital-native newsrooms weren’t enough to offset the steep declines in newspaper employment, which plunged 57% to about 30,000
from 2008 to 2020. Newspaper publishers last year cut 12% of newsroom jobs, the biggest drop in percentage terms since the 14% decline in 2009 – the depths of the Great Recession.
The drop in newspaper jobs led to a 26% decline for entire U.S. news industry from about 114,000 in 2008 to almost 85,000 by last year. The 2020 data don’t fully reflect the
effect of the pandemic because the federal government collects data for a three-year period, smoothing yearly changes, as Pew notes.
Broadcast TV employment grew 5% during the
12-year period to reach almost 30,000 workers by the end of 2020. The broadcast business reversed a slump between 2008 and 2013, and has grown most years since then.
newsrooms shed 26% of newsroom employees last year, about 3,400. Most of the losses were concentrated in the years from 2009 to 2011, though 2016 saw significant cuts of 15% to reach a low of about
The job losses at newspapers has diminished their share of overall newsroom employment — from 62% in 2008 to 36% last year. During the same period,
broadcast’s share grew from 25% to 35%, making it the biggest source of jobs. Digital-native’s shared expanded from 6% to 21% and is likely to continue to grow as audiences consume more
news from online sources.