U.S. Newspaper Woes Worsened in Pandemic Year: Investigation

AFP

Washington, United States ●
Wed 30 Jun 2021

2021-06-30
12:55
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The struggling US newspaper industry has cut thousands more jobs as broadcast losses prolonged in a pandemic year, but has seen positive signs with the growth of digital readers, a report showed on Tuesday from the Pew Research Center.

As part of its annual media assessment, Pew researchers found losses of around 12% of newsroom jobs, or some 4,000 journalists, editors or photographers in 2020, to bring the total number of jobs at 30,820 at the end of the year.

Print circulation on weekdays fell 19% and print circulation on Sundays fell 14%, Pew said.

One bright spot may be that newspapers saw gains in subscribers and digital readers amid the decline in print.

Pew found that “digital traffic,” which reflects the number of registered, mostly paid, website users increased by 38% when data is combined from industry sources and America’s largest dailies. .

Researchers calculated that the overall circulation of newspapers – combining digital and print – fell six percent over the year.

Even though the dark trend continued, “the decline has been slower than what we’ve seen in recent years,” Pew researcher Mike Barthel said.

Data suggests newspapers are making strides in capturing digital subscribers – with broadcast revenue surpassing advertising revenue for the industry for the first time, according to the report.

Total estimated broadcast revenue was $ 11.1 billion, up from $ 11 billion in 2019. Advertising revenue in 2020 fell 29% to $ 8.8 billion, based on an analysis of financial statements of listed media companies.

The investigation did not specifically ask why people are turning to newspaper websites, but Barthel noted that “our previous research has shown that news consumption has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The number of unique visitors to the top 50 daily newspapers – registered and unregistered – rose 14% over the year to 13.9 million, according to the report, which is part of the annual “State of the Media” “from Pew.

The report comes with mainstream news organizations seeing continued pressure from declining print readership and difficulty generating income online, and with increased consolidation, as hedge funds and chains buy out. dailies in difficulty.

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