Newspaper advertising revenue plunged an astounding 45% over the last three years forcing publishers to make drastic reductions to the actual size of the print edition, to the space devoted to news to the ranks of employees. Those findings are the latest from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism State of the News Media 2010 report that starkly quantifies the affects of a nasty recession and the sweeping structural changes faced by media organizations.
“For newspapers, which still provide the largest share of reportorial journalism in the United Sates, the metaphor that comes to mind is sand in an hourglass,” stated the report. The shrinking top and bottom line over the last three years resulted in loss of 15,000 full-time reporting and editing jobs falling to about 40,000 wrote Rick Edmonds of the Poynter Institute who authored the report’s newspaper chapter. “That means newsrooms have shrunk by 27% in three years,” he wrote.
Newspapers will benefit from the end of the recession, said the report, however it also noted that newspapers are their own worse enemies: “Far too many papers are at risk of becoming insubstantial,” warned the report. “They lack the heft to be thrown up on the front porch or to satisfy those readers still willing to pay for a good print newspaper.”