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Study: Media Employment Down 23 Percent over Past Decade

TV cameras are set up by journalists before the annoucement of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature at the Swedish Academy, on October 8, 2015 in Stockholm. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND
AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND

The number of employees working in the news media has declined 23 percent over the past decade, according to a Pew Research Center study released Monday.

The Pew Research Center study found that 114,000 employees worked in the media industry—including in newspapers, cable, radio, and broadcast—in 2008, but that number fell by 23 percent to 88,000 employees in 2017.

Among newspaper employees, the decline is much more significant. Employment at newspapers dropped by 45 percent between 2008 and 2017.

Pew, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, noted that 71,000 employees worked in the newspaper industry in the U.S. in 2008. In 2017, that number took a nosedive to 39,000 employees.

The study did note that while there has been a slight uptick in the number of digitally-focused news jobs, it was not enough to offset the overall bloodletting of newsroom jobs.

“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,” according to the study.

The latest Pew study on declining employment in the news media comes after the organization released a study last week finding that more than a third of major U.S. newspapers laid off staffers between January 2017 and April 2018.

Pew’s study on newspaper layoffs was released the same day the New York Daily News announced it would be laying off 50 percent of its editorial staff. Like many other newspapers, the Daily News had its fair share of financial problems.

In 2017, Tronc bought the struggling news outlet—which became known for releasing newspaper covers mocking President Trump—for $1 and shifted jobs from New York to Chicago.

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