Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Snapshot of the Rapidly Changing News Media

We’re a little late in flagging this, but the best annual report on “The State of the News Media” has been released for 2010, providing an invaluable snapshot of the radical changes taking place in the way Americans receive their news. The report is a publication of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The chart on the right shows the basic changes that took place last year: every news medium saw its audience shrink (cable by nearly 14%) except online, which grew by more than 17%. For the first time, more Americans said they got their news at least three times a week from online sources than from newspapers (46% to 40%). Only local TV news had a bigger following (50%).

Other highlights:

• Nearly half of all Americans – 47% - get at least some of their local news on cellphones or other mobile devices.
• Despite audience trends, revenues grew for every news medium except one, daily newspapers. Leading the list was local TV, which registered an increase of 17%, followed by online, about 14%. Newspapers saw their revenues shrink by over 6%.
• For the first time ever, advertisers spent more money online (over $25 billion) than on print ads.
• Newspapers laid off another 1,000 to 1,500 reporters and editors, leaving their news staffs 30% smaller than they were in 2000.

Structurally, the Pew report says that the most important change taking place in the news media is the shift in control – from journalists to software programmers, content aggregators and device makers that connect with the public and control the audience data that is key to communicating in an online world.

The report includes a fascinating interactive page that will let you pick the media and the topic to learn the extent of the coverage in 2010. Check it out.

- Potomac Communications Group

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