MORE FACT SHEETS: STATE OF THE NEWS MEDIA
News media made by and for the two largest racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States – blacks and Hispanics – have been a consistent part of the American news landscape. However, many black-oriented newspapers – some more than a century old – have seen a slow decline in circulation in recent years, mirroring the overall decline in newspaper circulation. Both print and television Hispanic media, on the other hand, have enjoyed relative strength over the last decade, but that growth has now slowed. Explore the patterns and longitudinal data about Hispanic- and black-oriented news outlets below.
As the two largest Spanish-language television networks in the U.S., Univision and Telemundo are key providers of news for Spanish speakers. While viewership for some shows on these networks was roughly flat or even increased in 2016, viewership for each network’s largest news program decreased at least slightly. For Univision, the largest viewership among its five national news programs went to their flagship nightly news broadcast, Noticiero Univision, whose combined average viewership was 1.8 million in 2016, though the program’s viewership has been declining since a peak of 2.1 million in 2013. For Telemundo, the largest viewership among its three national news programs was for the 4 p.m. daily newsmagazine Al Rojo Vivo, which attracted an average viewership of 1 million in 2016. This was down 10% from 2015.
Both Univision and Telemundo have local affiliate stations that also carry their own original news programming. Average viewership for Univision affiliates’ news programming declined across all timeslots in 2016, with late night news viewership down 9%, early evening news down 4% and morning news down 3%. By comparison, combined average viewership for Telemundo affiliates’ early evening and late night news remained about stable, while Telemundo’s morning news viewership – with the smallest reach of all its news timeslots – grew 15%. Overall, though, Univision’s local news broadcasts still attract more viewers than Telemundo’s local news.
In 2016, circulation declined by at least 11% for each of the three daily Hispanic newspapers for which there is 2016 data. For the top 20 Hispanic weekly and semiweekly newspapers, average per-paper circulation declined 5%, to about 92,000.
- Hispanic newspapers with daily circulation
- Hispanic newspapers with weekly/semiweekly circulation
Black-oriented newspapers are a long-standing minority news sector in the U.S. The black press trade association (National Newspaper Publishers Association) currently lists around 150 members on its website, but few of these papers have regularly audited circulation figures, making it difficult to acquire audience figures for the sector as a whole. There are, however, some black-oriented newspapers – most of which are weekly or semiweekly – with recent circulation data available through the main audit bureaus that can serve as indicators. Among these, the data show that African American newspapers with a substantial amount of paid circulation either lost circulation or held steady from 2015 to 2016. For a number of mostly free-distribution newspapers, circulation results were more mixed. (For newspapers with paid circulation in this analysis, at least 25% of each paper’s circulation is paid; for the free newspapers, less than 1% of each paper’s circulation is paid.)
(Pew Research Center is not aware of any directory of black-oriented news radio or television stations, though the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters represents African-American owned radio and TV stations in the US.)
- African American newspapers with paid circulation
- African American newspapers with free circulation
Univision’s total revenue grew by 6% to $3 billion in 2016. (Telemundo’s revenue is not available for analysis, as its parent company, Comcast, does not provide network-specific revenue.)
While audience data is not available for Spanish-language news radio, revenue for Spanish news radio stations has remained steady. Average station revenue for Spanish-language news stations that are listed in the BIA/Kelsey database declined 1% to $1.3 million.
There is no revenue data available for black-oriented newspapers, which are mostly privately held, and no database that the Center is aware of that separates out black-oriented TV or radio news stations from all English-speaking news outlets.
The portion of local TV newsroom staff who are black has remained at about 10% since 1995, according to a survey of non-Hispanic TV stations from RTDNA. The percentage of African American television news directors is smaller, at 5.5%; in 1995, just 2% of local TV news directors were African American. Hispanics, who made up 4% of the TV news workforce in 1995, now make up 9% of both the TV news workforce and TV news directors.
- TV news workforce
- TV news directors
Find out more
This fact sheet was compiled by Elisa Shearer, who is a research analyst focusing on journalism research at Pew Research Center.
Read the methodology.
Find more in-depth explorations of Hispanic and African American news media by following the link below.
Blacks more likely to follow up on digital news than whites March 2, 2017
Social media preferences vary by race and ethnicity Feb. 3, 2015
As news business takes a hit, the number of black journalists declines Aug. 1, 2014
As the New York Times’ first black executive editor, Dean Baquet is in a distinct minority May 28, 2014
A Growing Share of Latinos Get Their News in English July 23, 2013