The State of the News Media 2010

March 15th, 2010

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, a nonpolitical, nonpartisan research institute, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, has just released its 7th annual The State of the News Media (2010 edition). The 25-page Executive Summary is available for PDF download, but the entire study, running some 700 pages, can only be printed section by section from here.

The stated goals of the report “are to take stock of the revolution occurring in how Americans get information and provide a resource for citizens, journalists and researchers to make their own assessments. To do so we gather in one place as much data as possible about all the major sectors of journalism, identify trends across media, mark key findings, delve deep into each sector and note areas for further inquiry.”

Among the cheerful news on page one of the Executive Summary:

The numbers for 2009 reveal just how urgent these questions [about the future of the news media] are becoming. Newspapers, including online, saw ad revenue fall 26% during the year, which brings the total loss over the last three years to 43%.

Local television ad revenue fell 22% in 2009; triple the decline the year before. Radio also was off 22%. Magazine ad revenue dropped 17%, network TV 8% (and news alone probably more). Online ad revenue over all fell about 5%, and revenue to news sites most likely also fared much worse.

Only cable news among the commercial news sectors did not suffer declining revenue last year.

Have you noticed that the online newspapers you still read seem to have not only fewer stories of interest, but also an awful lot of typos? No wonder:

…we estimate that the newspaper industry has lost $1.6 billion in annual reporting and editing capacity since 2000, or roughly 30%. That leaves an estimated $4.4 billion remaining. Even if the economy improves we predict more cuts in 2010…Staffing at the news magazines Time and Newsweek since 1983 is down by 47%.

More to follow, but I’ve got an appointment with my psychiatrist which I think takes precedence.