Pew Study: American Journalism Shows Signs of Rebound

Image: Pew Study: American Journalism Shows Signs of Rebound

Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 07:12 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The Pew Research Journalism Project's 2014 State of the News Media report sounded a cautiously hopeful note on the future of American journalism.

The news industry generates about $60 billion of yearly revenue with advertising accounting for about two-thirds of the total, according to the report.

Billionaires are investing in news. Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, John Henry purchased The Boston Globe, and Pierre Omidyar is bankrolling advocacy journalist Glenn Greenwald's First Look Media. Meanwhile, philanthropists are also becoming involved. The Jerome L. Greene Foundation has provided New York Public Radio with a $10 million grant to upgrade its technology.

Prestigious news outlets including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post, are including content paid for by advertisers in their digital news mix generating fresh sources of revenue.

According to Pew, there are about 5,000 full-time, comparatively new, jobs across 500 digital news outlets.

Digital media is attracting talent from mainstream newspapers. BuzzFeed hired Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Schoofs. Mashable brought on  former New York Times assistant managing editor Jim Roberts, and the Washington Post's Ezra Klein left to work for Vox media.

Digital news sites are beginning to invest in global coverage even as mainstream newspapers and network newscasts devote less and less time to foreign affairs. The number of foreign correspondents on U.S. newspaper staffs has have declined 24 percent from 2003 to 2010, according to the report.

Most original reporting, however, continues to emanate from the world of newspapers where journalism jobs are in decline. Revenue supporting news still comes mostly from print and television.

Most American adults continue to get their news from local television, though fewer stations are producing original news coverage. About 300 local TV stations were bought and sold in 2013. The stations generate revenue by charging cable companies for access. Sinclair Broadcast Group  continues to be a big player in the local TV market.

Younger Americans who rely on Facebook for their news show little connection to the original source of the material, and the range of their news interests is limited.

More news outlets, including ABC, NBC, Fox, and The Huffington Post, are providing Spanish language versions of their content to tap into the growing Hispanic demographic.
Pew also says that online news video is the next wave with news outlets increasing their investment in digital video.

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