The State of the News Media 2013: Annual Report on American Journalism
In 2012, a continued erosion of news reporting resources converged with growing opportunities for those in politics, government agencies, companies and others to take their messages directly to the public.
Network News: A Year of Change and Challenge at NBC
After an unusual uptick in the overall audience for evening news in 2011, the trend line returned to its normal in 2012. The combined viewership for the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts dropped 2%, to 22.1 million, resuming the downward trajectory of nearly three decades. It now appears that 2011 may have been an outlier, with the bigger audience attributable to an unusual number of major news events that year, including the Arab Spring, the Japanese earthquake and the killing of Osama bin Laden. Even a presidential election couldn’t keep some viewers from deserting network news in 2012.
Digital: As Mobile Grows Rapidly, the Pressures on News Intensify
For more than a decade, as the desktop/laptop era of computing took hold, news organizations were at a severe disadvantage competing against a raft of financially and technologically stronger tech companies. Now, the rapid advance of the mobile era threatens a whole new level of upheaval, as both the costs and technological challenges of keeping up in the swiftly evolving news ecosystem multiply.
Newspapers: Stabilizing, but Still Threatened
If the newspaper industry had theme music in 2013, it might use “Been down so long it looks like up to me,” the much-recycled line from a 1920s blues song. For the first time since the deep recession that began in 2007, newspaper organizations have grounds for a modicum of optimism.
Cable: A Growing Medium Reaching its Ceiling
Cable news continues to operate with more stability than most other news sectors today. But financial growth tapered off in 2012, and audience figures started to show signs of languishing—at least raising the question of whether there is a ceiling for this niche news genre.
Local TV: Audience Declines as Revenue Bounces Back
The long slow decline in viewership of local television news resumed in 2012 after a brief respite the previous year. While stations devoted more of their available air time to local news, that wasn’t sufficient to halt the decline in viewership. Early-morning newscasts continued to gain viewers, but that increase was more than offset by losses in most other time slots.
News Magazines: Embracing Their Digital Future
Amid the broad decline of the magazine industry in recent years, news magazines have been among the hardest hit. That trend continued in 2012 for the six publications analyzed by the Pew Research Center, Time and Newsweek, as well as four smaller niche publications – The Economist, The Atlantic, The Week and The New Yorker. Ad pages for the group fell by an average of 10.4% in 2012, about 25% greater than the 8.2% slide experienced by magazines over all.
Audio: Digital Drives Listener Experience
As far back as 2004, Pew Research Center wrote that local news on the radio “appears to have seriously eroded in recent years” with a growing number of stations that “are not local at all.” Then in 2006 we wrote, “Technology is turning what we once thought of as radio into something broader – listening,” and raised the question of what that would mean for radio news. Now, heading into 2013, those two shifts have come together to create a very different audio landscape—one in which news is relegated to a smaller corner of the listening landscape.
African American News Sources: A Year of Turmoil and Opportunity
The story about how African American-oriented news media coped last year was a difficult one at best.
Americans Show Signs of Leaving a News Outlet, Citing Less Information
Faced with shrinking revenue and dwindling audiences, news organizations in recent years have slashed staffs and reduced coverage. Most news consumers are little aware of the financial struggles that led to these cuts, a new Pew Research Center survey finds. Nevertheless, a significant percentage of them not only have noticed a difference in the quantity or quality of news, but have stopped reading, watching or listening to a news source because of it.