Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Annual State of the News Media study out

Traditional news operations such as broadcast TV and newspapers suffered badly in 2009, according to The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism’s annual State of the News Media study.

One striking finding is the continued loss of news reporting staff. The study estimates that 5,900 newspaper jobs were lost in 2009, broadcast TV staffs are half what they were in the 1980s, local TV networks shed 450 jobs and that top news magazines like Time and Newsweek continued to shed staff. Cable news is an anomaly, as Fox News increased its monetary investment in staff — but much of that went to the salaries of brand-name hosts. CNN’s investment in news-gathering dropped “for the first time in years” while MSNBC is more difficult to gauge since MSNBC shares costs with its sister network, NBC.

Fox News and CNN grew their audiences, with Fox News leading the way, while the top-tier of news Web sites maintained their online dominance. Of the top 4,600 “news and information” Web sites, the top 7 percent had 80 percent of the total web traffic. Meanwhile, traditional news gathering operations like network news broadcasts, local news broadcasts, magazines and newspapers all continued to decline in traffic, though the ratings for nightly broadcast news broadcasts still far exceed any cable TV network programming.

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