Newsroom employment in the U.S. - statistics & facts
Newsrooms all over the world have undergone many changes in recent years. Some have invested in new digital technology to aid staff in producing and delivering news and are seeing positive results. Others have suffered cutbacks or changed their processes and working environments, partly as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 and newsrooms: what changed?
The outbreak affected newsrooms differently. Many saw previously unanticipated long-term change, whereas for others, the impact was more temporary. For example, a study held at the end of 2021 looking at U.S. radio newsrooms and the pandemic found that less than 25 percent of stations still had staff working mostly remotely, and only seven percent had less staff in general. Changes to TV newsrooms due to COVID were more noticeable.
Two thirds of respondents from radio newsrooms said that, for them, there had either not been any change or everything was virtually back to normal, whereas just one third of TV stations said the same. TV news staff were more likely to work remotely than radio staff, and the share of TV stations reporting fewer newsroom staffers was more than double that of radio stations. Cutbacks were already a problem in the news industry before COVID and look set to continue.
The state of the U.S. news staff base
A 2022 survey asking journalists about the future of their organization found that only around one in 10 respondents working for online news companies said their employer was cutting back, and over 40 percent reported that the organization was seeking to expand. By contrast, roughly one third of journalists employed by an outlet with TV or print as its original platform were experiencing cutbacks.
Meanwhile, the total number of employees in the newspaper industry fell by over three and a half times in 15 years. The decline occurred in all areas, from sales to accounting, and the number of people employed specifically in newspaper newsrooms more than halved, dropping from 75 thousand to less than 30 thousand. Those looking to secure employment in the industry also face obstacles. The states with the highest concentration of news reporters and journalists are also among the most expensive, with New York and Los Angeles ranking first and second, respectively. Although salaries for news staff tend to be higher in these areas, this is sometimes offset by higher costs of living, a factor which can deter jobseekers from relocating.
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