Visualizing The Print-pocalypse Of American Newspapers

The number of employees working in the media industry plunged 23.6 percent from 2008 to 2017, according to a new analysis.

According to a Pew Research analysis published Monday, in 2017, there were about 88,000 newsroom employees – reporters, editors, photographers, and videographers – working across five industries that generate news: broadcast news, cable, newspapers, radio, and other information services. That number is down from 114,000 employees in 2008, which represents a loss of about 27,000 jobs (-23.6 percent).

Glancing through the report, what caught our attention — is the decline in newspaper employees.

Pew mentioned the number of employees at newspapers across the US collapsed -45 percent over the last ten years. Citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics survey data, the nonpartisan American fact tank reports roughly 71,000 workers were employed at newspapers in 2008, while the number stands at only 39,000 in 2017.

“Of the five industries studied, notable job growth occurred only in the digital-native news sector,” reported Pew.

“Since 2008, the number of digital-native newsroom employees increased by 79%, from about 7,400 workers to about 13,000 in 2017. This increase of about 6,000 total jobs, however, fell far short of offsetting the loss of about 32,000 newspaper newsroom jobs during the same period,” the fact tank added.

The decline in newspaper employment also means the industry is rapidly shrinking.  In 2008, newspaper newsroom employees were about 62 percent of all news workers. By 2017, they stand at only 45 percent.

In the last decade, there has been a noticeable expansion in television broadcasting workers of all newsroom employees, from 25 percent in 2008 to 33 percent in 2017. Employees in digital-native news increased from 6 percent of all newsroom employees to about 15 percent in 2017.

The analysis was published one week after another Pew Research study revealed 36 percent of the largest newspapers across the US — as well as 23 percent of the highest-traffic digital-native news outlets — experienced some form of layoffs between January 2017 and April 2018.

The study found newspapers with circulations of at least 250,000, had a higher probability of experiencing layoffs than smaller-circulation papers between January 2017 and April 2018. Pew noted that 56 percent of major US newspapers had layoffs. By comparison, 36 percent of newspapers between 100,000 and 249,999 had layoffs, and 30 percent of papers with circulations between 50,000 and 99,999 had to cut back their workforce.

As information technology revolutionizes the way through which people receive news, the direct result of such a radical shift is the collapse of the American newspaper industry. Earlier this month, New York Daily News cut half its editorial staff in another round of massive layoffs that now only has 40 employees remaining. There could be a lot more pain coming for American newspapers, as the print apocalypse could rear its ugly head in the next recession.