Newspaper Newsroom Investment
2006 Annual Report
By the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Rick Edmonds of The Poynter Institute
May 8, 2006 Update
The American Society of Newspaper Editor’s annual newsroom census* found that full-time professional employment at daily newspapers fell by 600 during 2005. This roughly equals the number of announced job cuts during the year and is considerably less than the 1,200 to 1,500 reduction we had projected when State of the Media 2006 was published in mid-March.
Why were the losses not as bad? Three factors mentioned in the report probably provide the explanation:
With circulation declining and advertising flat, 2005 brought cuts in newsroom staffing nearly as alarming as those during the newspaper recession of 2001.
Large cuts, especially at highly regarded big regional newspapers, took place all through the year. Many made headlines — 100 jobs at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, 50 at the San Jose Mercury News and 45 at the New York Times.
How severe were the cuts, and what do they portend? Were they cyclical responses to a flat advertising year and a temporary response to newspapers cleaning house of some shaky circulation? Or do they signal a turning point in which newsrooms are likely to shrink from here on as the industry begins an accelerated decline?
Those are the questions that people inside and outside the industry seemed to be asking as 2006 began.