Newsroom employment across the United States continues to decline, driven primarily by job losses at newspapers. And even though digital-native news outlets have experienced some recent growth in employment, they have added too few newsroom positions to make up for recent losses in the broader industry, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics survey data.
From 2008 to 2018, newsroom employment in the U.S. dropped by 25%. In 2008, about 114,000 newsroom employees – reporters, editors, photographers and videographers – worked in five industries that produce news: newspaper, radio, broadcast television, cable and “other information services” (the best match for digital-native news publishers). By 2018, that number had declined to about 86,000, a loss of about 28,000 jobs.
This decline in overall newsroom employment has been driven primarily by one sector: newspapers. The number of newspaper newsroom employees dropped by 47% between 2008 and 2018, from about 71,000 workers to 38,000.
Of the five industries analyzed, notable job growth occurred only in the digital-native news sector. Since 2008, the number of digital-native newsroom employees has increased by 82%, from about 7,400 workers to about 13,500 in 2018. This increase of about 6,100 total jobs, however, fell far short of offsetting the loss of about 33,000 newspaper newsroom jobs during the same period. (A separate Pew Research Center analysis of reported layoffs at newspapers and digital-native news outlets found that nearly a quarter of the digital outlets examined experienced layoffs between January 2017 and April 2018, despite the overall increase in employment in this sector.)
Newsroom employment figures in broadcast television have been relatively stable, remaining at about 28,000 between 2008 and 2018. Employment has also remained relatively stable in cable television, at between 2,000 and 3,000 over the same period. In contrast, radio broadcasting has lost about a quarter (26%) of its newsroom employees, dropping from about 4,600 workers in 2008 to about 3,400 a decade later. Percentage-wise, this places radio behind newspapers as the industry with the greatest decline, though the overall number of jobs lost – about 1,200 – is 28 times smaller than the loss in the newspaper sector.
The dramatic decline in newspaper employment also means that the industry now accounts for a smaller portion of overall newsroom employment across the five sectors. In 2008, newspaper newsroom employees made up about six-in-ten (62%) of all newsroom employees in these five industries. By 2018, they made up fewer than half (44%).
Conversely, television broadcasting employees now account for a larger portion of all newsroom employees, from 25% in 2008 to 33% in 2018. The proportion for digital-native has more than doubled over the period, from 6% of all newsroom employees in 2008 to 16% in 2018.
Of the different types of jobs included in the analysis, reporters made up the bulk of all newsroom employees in news industries, representing between 45% and 50% since 2008.
Note: See full methodology here (PDF). This is an update of a post originally published on July 30, 2018.