Pew Research: 'Dramatic decline' in newsroom jobs -- digital media jobs also lost

Silicon Valley's tech-driven media companies are driving down the cost of advertising. They can thrive but others cannot.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

Silicon Valley's technology-driven media companies Google and Facebook last week reported strong earnings and jobs growth but news outlets continue to lose thousands of jobs even those that are digital native, says a new Pew Research analysis.

Elizabeth Grieco reported:

This decline in overall newsroom employment was driven primarily by one sector: newspapers. Newspaper newsroom employees dropped by 45 percent over the period, from about 71,000 workers in 2008 to 39,000 in 2017.

The study looked at five sectors: newspapers, radio, television, cable TV and digital native.

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Radio was in second place and lost about 27 percent or 1300 of its newsroom workers -- a fraction of the 39,000 newspaper jobs lost in the same period.

The newsrooms of broadcast and cable TV managed to keep most of their jobs at about 28,000 and 3,000 respectively.

A small bright spot was that jobs at digital native news organizations grew 79 percent or 5,600 jobs from 7,400 in 20018 to 13,000 at the end of 2017. However, these digital-first newsrooms have also faced problems.

A separate Pew Research Center analysis of reported layoffs at newspapers and digital-native news outlets found that nearly a quarter of the digital outlets examined experienced layoffs between January 2017 and April 2018, despite the overall increase in employment in this sector.

The job losses in these sectors have been offset by large job increases at Silicon Valley's tech-enabled media companies such as Google and Facebook -- which have overtaken the traditional new media businesses.

Google added nearly 68,000 jobs over the same ten-year period from 2008 to 2017. And in 2018 Facebook is hiring tens of thousands of people to battle fake news and spam.

However, these Silicon Valley giants do not view themselves as media companies but as tech application platforms. They have shrugged-off the responsibilities that traditional media carried in serving broader society -- in not publishing hate speech and fake news.

Pew said the job losses were mostly among reporters.

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