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 2004-2016 are archived as PDFs and available here.)
Listed below are the 2018 fact sheets released so far (noted as “Updated” beside their title), the sheets released in 2017 that have not yet been updated, and links to related reports and blog posts that provide other angles of analysis about the news media industry.
In 21 states, local newspapers lack a dedicated D.C. reporter covering Congress
Between 2009 and 2014, the number of Washington-based reporters for local newspapers accredited by the Senate to cover Congress declined by 11%.
5 key takeaways about today’s Washington press corps
The face of the Washington press corps has changed markedly in recent years, transformed by an increase in the number of journalists working for “niche” publications and digital startups.
Today’s Washington Press Corps More Digital, Specialized
There are more niche news outlet reporters than daily newspaper reporters on Capitol Hill. In the late 1990s, daily newspaper staff outnumbered niche reporters by more than two-to-one.
In the news industry, diversity is lowest at smaller outlets
Minorities are still underrepresented at U.S. news organizations, especially when it comes to the places that would-be journalists traditionally try to break into the business: smaller local TV and newspaper outlets.
Early morning, noon and late evening slots drive growth in local TV news
Faced with multiple years of audience declines during traditional time slots, many local TV stations began expanding their programming to nontraditional hours such as very early morning, midday and at 7 p.m.
Why a mobile news startup couldn’t survive in a mobile news world
Circa is the latest casualty of a fragile digital news scene that is by no means immune to the risks facing startups in general.
Facebook’s deal with publishers a stark reminder of digital ad gulf
A hard look at the digital publishing business shows the degree to which Facebook, more than any other single company, is where the digital display ad money is.
The declining value of U.S. newspapers
Over the past two decades, major newspapers across the country have seen a recurring cycle of ownership changes and steep declines in value.
As 2016 election looms, MSNBC shakes up its programming strategy
MSNBC shifts its focus toward “original reporting” as its overall ratings remain strong, but total revenue for the year lags significantly behind CNN’s.
America’s news anchors are less recognizable now, but network news is still alive
NBC’s suspension of anchor Brian Williams from the helm of its flagship evening news program has led to some debate about the future for network television news.