Newsroom employment has dropped by 25 percent in last decade: analysis

Job losses at newspapers is the driving force behind an overall continued decline in newsroom employment, according to an analysis of new survey data released by the Pew Research Center on Tuesday. 

The data, collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that from 2008 to 2018, newsroom employment in the U.S. was cut by 25 percent. The overall number of employees in newspaper, radio, broadcast television, cable and other information declined from about 114,000 in 2008 to 86,000 in 2018.

The newspaper sector saw the biggest drop in employees. 

In 2008, there were approximately 71,000 employees working at U.S. newspapers. In 2018, that number was just 38,000, a decrease of 47 percent. 

The digital-native sector was the only area to experience significant growth over the past decade, with the number of employees increasing by 82 percent from about 7,400 workers in 2008 to approximately 13,500 in 2018. 

Broadcast television newsroom employee levels have remained unchanged at about 28,000 between 2008 and 2018. 

Radio broadcasting has lost more than a quarter of its newsroom employees, however, going from about 4,600 workers in 2008 to about 3,400 in 2018. 

The statistics come six weeks after New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet predicted that “most local newspapers are going to die in the next five years.”

“The greatest crisis in American journalism is the death of local news,” Baquet said at the International News Media Association World Congress in New York City in May. “I don’t know what the answer is.

“Their economic model is gone. I think most local newspapers in America are going to die in the next five years, except for the ones that have been bought by a local billionaire,” Baquet continued.

“I think that everybody who cares about news — myself included, and all of you — should take this on as an issue,” the 62-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner added. “Because we’re going to wake up one day and there are going to be entire states with no journalism or with little tiny pockets of journalism.

“I’m not worried about Los Angeles and New York. I don’t know what the model is for covering the school boards in Newark, N.J. That makes me nervous,” he added.

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