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 2004-2018 are archived as PDFs and available here.)
Newspapers are a critical part of the American news landscape, but they have been hard hit as more and more Americans consume news digitally.
Cable TV is home to a set of television channels whose news broadcasts have become an important information source for many Americans.
Network TV news – appointment viewing for many Americans – saw its audience decline over the past year.
In the U.S., roughly nine-in-ten adults get at least some news online, and the online space has become a host for the digital homes of both legacy news outlets and new, “born on the web” news outlets.
News media made by and for the two largest racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States – Blacks and Hispanics – have been a consistent part of the American news landscape.
Local television news programming has shed audience over the past decade, but it still garners more viewers on average than cable and network news programs.
The audio news sector in the U.S. is split by modes of delivery: traditional terrestrial (AM/FM) radio and digital formats such as online radio and podcasting.
Hundreds of local and regional radio and television stations comprise the U.S. public media system.