Since 2004, Pew Research Center has issued an annual report on key audience and economic indicators for a variety of sectors within the U.S. news media industry. These data speak to the shifting ways in which Americans seek out news and information, how news organizations get their revenue, and the resources available to American journalists as they seek to inform the public about important events of the day. The press is sometimes called the fourth branch of government, but in the U.S., it’s also very much a business – one whose ability to serve the public is dependent on its ability to attract eyeballs and dollars.
Over the years, the Center’s approach to these indicators has evolved along with the industry, carefully considering the metrics, sectors and format in which the data appear. Instead of a single summary report, our approach is to roll out a series of fact sheets showcasing the most important current and historical data points for each sector – in an easy-to-digest format – a few at a time. (State of the News Media reports from 2004-2017 are archived as PDFs and available here.)
What Facebook and Twitter Mean for News
Perhaps no topic in technology attracted more attention in 2011 than the rise of social media and its potential impact on news. “If searching for news was the most important development of the last decade, sharing news may be among the most important of the next,” we wrote in a May 2011 report analyzing online news behavior called Navigating News Online.
Mobile Devices and News Consumption: Some Good Signs for Journalism
The migration of audiences toward digital news advanced to a new level in 2011 and early 2012, the era of mobile and multidigital devices. More than three-quarters of U.S. adults own laptop or desktop computers, a number that has been stable for some years.1 Now, in addition, 44% of adults own a smartphone, and the number of tablet owners grew by about 50% since the summer of 2011, to 18% of Americans over age 18.