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Pew reports “notable job growth” in the digital-native news sector

A recent Pew Research Center analysis of employment in the news-producing industries reveals that the digital-native news sector is the only one providing consistent, notable job growth among the five industries analyzed: newspapers, broadcast television, radio, cable and digital.

The data shows that the long-term decline in newsroom employment has been driven primarily by one sector: newspapers.

Combined newsroom employment in the other four news-producing industries – broadcast television, radio, cable and digital-native – remained relatively stable, even rising modestly after 2014, the report states.

Digital climbs as newspapers fall

While newsroom employment at U.S. newspapers continues to plummet, a modest increase in jobs after 2014 in other news-producing sectors – especially digital-native organizations – offset some of the losses at newspapers, helping to stabilize the overall number of U.S. newsroom employees in the last five years.

This increase of more than 9,000 jobs in the non-newspaper industries nearly offset the loss of about 11,000 newspaper newsroom employees after 2014.

Elizabeth Grieco, Pew Research Center

Digital-native jobs growing consistently

So while the dramatic decline in newspaper employment means the industry now accounts for a smaller portion of overall newsroom employment, at the same time digital-native jobs growth is up 3x, from just 6% in 2008 to 18% by 2019.

“A wake-up call”

Jobs are going where the growth is, and publishers will have to step-up their transformation to digital to avoid obsolescence. 

“The value of digital channels, products and operations is immediately obvious to companies everywhere right now,” says Sandy Shen, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. “This is a wake-up call for organizations.”

One colleague I spoke to questioned whether newsrooms were “1970s constructs” which were out of kilter with today. “Digital technology has changed how you disseminate information.”

John Crowley, ‘Adapt or die’ (WAN-IFRA)

“Much of what was going to happen in any case will now happen suddenly: publishing history is suddenly accelerated,” says Amol Rajan. Media editor at the BBC. 

“The shift from print to digital at virtually all publications will be radically sped up.”


Note: Pew cautions that “the years covered in the current analysis predate the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. The economic effects of the virus have led to a fresh round of layoffs, pay cuts and other changes at U.S. media outlets, especially newspapers.”

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