Erosion and Conversion Are Main Themes Found in State of the News Media 2013

newspaper print newsThe Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has released its State of the News Media 2013 report, and two themes are clearly communicated in the findings. First, new reporting resources continue to erode. Second, a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional news publishers are converging and creating a completely new landscape for the news industry.

For example, the study found that newspaper newsroom cutbacks put the newspaper industry down by 30% and brought the number of full-time professional employees to fewer than 40,000, which is the lowest it’s been since 1978. Today, newsrooms are doing more broadcasting and less investigative reporting. 40% of local television news content is now dedicated to sports, weather, and traffic, and overall story lengths are getting shorter.

Furthermore, live events coverage (which require crews) dropped by 30% since 2007. On cable news, interviews and opinion segments, which are cheap to produce, are dominating air time. As a result, 31% of respondents to the Pew study claimed that they had left a news outlet because it stopped providing the news and information they expected.

At the same time, more brands, companies, and independent content publishers are increasing the amount of content they publish, which competes with “broadcast” messages from news organizations. Digital news consumption showed the biggest growth in the Pew report, and as mobile device ownership continues to increase, digital news consumption will continue to grow along with it.

Additionally, people are finding news via word-of-mouth from friends and family more than ever (72%). Today, 15% of U.S. adults get most of their news from friends and family through social media, and that number goes up as age goes down (e.g., nearly a quarter of 18-29 year old U.S. adults get news primarily from friends and family through social media).

To stay in the black, news organizations are struggling to find ways to monetize their content with paywalls and ads. Video advertising and sponsorship advertising show the most promise for news organizations in the near future according to the analysis by Pew’s researchers.

Overall, the Pew report identified six major trends for the year:

  1. The public is noticing the effects of ten years of newsroom cutbacks.
  2. The news industry continues to lose out on the bulk of digital advertising.
  3. Sponsorship ads are growing rapidly.
  4. Paid digital content experiments will have significant effects on news revenue and content.
  5. Newspapers have the biggest problems but local television is losing audiences rapidly, too.
  6. The public consumes news content more deeply when they hear about news from friends and family via social media or word-of-mouth.

You can follow the link at the top of the page to get all of the details about the Pew Research State of the News Media 2013 report, and check out the highlights in the infographic below.

Pew State of the News Media 2013 infographic

Image: Sanja Gjenero

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