MORE FACT SHEETS: STATE OF THE NEWS MEDIA
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If you are aware of current directories or other sources of audience or economic data for news outlets oriented toward Asian American, Black American or Hispanic American audiences, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News media made by and for the two largest racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States – Black Americans and Hispanic Americans – have been a consistent part of the American news landscape. While newspapers aimed at both of these groups have recently had audience declines, Univision and Telemundo have fared better with both network and local television audiences. Explore the trends in Hispanic- and Black-oriented news outlets below.
Pew Research Center is not aware of any current directory with publicly available representative data for news media companies oriented toward Asian-American audiences and is therefore unable to produce audience or economic analyses for Asian American-oriented news outlets at this time.
As the two largest Spanish-language television networks in the United States, Univision and Telemundo are key providers of news for Spanish speakers. Univision’s average audience – measured as the average number of TVs tuned to a program throughout a period of time – increased from 2019 to 2020 for all three national time slots studied: a 10% increase for the evening news time slot (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.), to an average audience of about 1.1 million; a 32% increase in late night news (11 p.m. to 2 a.m.); and a 12% increase for the morning news time slot (6 a.m. to 9 a.m.). Telemundo’s audience also increased, by 15%, in the late night news time slot, but decreased by 9% for evening news, to an average audience of around 700,000.
Both Univision and Telemundo have local affiliate stations that carry their own original news programming. In 2020, average viewership for Univision affiliates increased in three key time slots. Univision affiliates’ late night news (11 p.m. to 2 a.m.) showed an increase of 14%, while evening news (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) viewership for Univision affiliates saw an increase of 9%. Morning news for Univision affiliates, which has far lower viewership overall, increased by 13%. Average viewership for Telemundo affiliates during these time slots was more varied, with evening news increasing 10%, late night news seeing a slight decrease of 7%, and morning news (which has a much smaller audience overall) seeing a large increase of 43% in average audience.
To get a summary measure of circulation at weekly and semiweekly Hispanic newspapers, the Center uses an average of the top 20 of these newspapers that report current and historical data to auditors. Average per-paper circulation for these papers remained relatively steady from 2015-2019 but dropped by 8% in the past year, from 118,000 to 109,000. For the only two daily Hispanic newspapers for which there is 2020 data, circulation also declined, decreasing for El Nuevo Herald in Miami and El Nuevo Heraldo in Brownsville, Texas.
Circulation for Hispanic newspapers
Black-oriented newspapers are a long-standing minority news sector in the U.S. There are 195 newspapers listed by The Center for Community Media at the CUNY School of Journalism’s Mapping Black Media Project as being owned by or oriented toward Black Americans. However, few of those newspapers, or of those listed as members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (the Black Press trade association), have regularly audited circulation figures, making it difficult to acquire audience figures for the sector as a whole. There are, however, 15 Black-oriented newspapers with recently reported circulation data. Among the eight papers with data for both 2020 and 2019, five saw their circulation drop by at least 10%, with the largest drop being 40% for the St. Louis American. This is in addition to the number of newspapers whose circulation is no longer available from the main auditing companies, including the Baltimore and Washington Afr0-American, founded in 1892, and the Dallas Weekly, founded in 1954.
The Mapping Black Media Project lists 49 radio stations and station networks from 27 different states that are owned by or oriented toward Black Americans. It also lists three television stations: KSQA in Kansas, WHPR in Michigan and WHUT in Washington, D.C. Pew Research Center does not have access to enough adequate financial data for these radio and television stations at this time to serve as a quality representation of the state of Black-oriented stations in the U.S.
In the absence of abundant audience or financial data, survey data can shine some light on how Black Americans engage with the news. Black Americans are more likely than others to prefer to get their news on television, and are more likely than any other group to follow local news very closely.
Circulation of Black-oriented newspapers
Univision’s total revenue saw a 5% decline, to $2.5 billion in 2020. (Telemundo’s revenue is not available for analysis, as its parent company, Comcast, does not provide network-specific revenue.)
While audience data is not available for Spanish-language news radio, revenue data is available. Average station revenue for Spanish-language news stations that are listed in the BIA Advisory Services database saw a 22% decline from 2019 to 2020, for an overall decline of 31% since 2013, to just under $1 million.
There is no revenue data available for Black-oriented newspapers, which are mostly privately held, and no database that the Center is aware of separates out Black-oriented TV or radio news stations from all English-speaking news outlets.
The portion of local TV newsroom staff who are African American, after remaining steady at about 10% for many years, has ticked up slightly to 13.3% in 2020, according to a survey of TV stations from RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University. By comparison, the percentage of television news directors who are African American is smaller, at just 4%. Hispanic Americans, who made up 4% of both the TV news workforce and TV news directors in 1995, in 2020 made up 11% of the TV news workforce and 10% of TV news directors.
Hispanic American and African American staff in TV newsrooms
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Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. This is the latest report in Pew Research Center’s ongoing investigation of the state of news, information and journalism in the digital age, a research program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Find more in-depth explorations of Hispanic and Black news media by following the link below:
- Research Topic: Hispanics/Latinos
- Research Topic: Black Americans
- Social media continue to be important political outlets for Black Americans, Dec. 11, 2020
- Black U.S. adults follow many COVID-19 news topics more closely, discuss the outbreak more frequently, June 5, 2020
- Older Americans, Black Adults and Americans With Less Education More Interested in Local News, Aug. 14, 2019
- 7 facts about Black Americans and the news media, Aug. 7, 2019
- It’s more common for white, older, more-educated Americans to have spoken with local journalists, May 10, 2019