More American adults are watching news videos online than ever before. According to the 2014 State of the News Media report, released on Wednesday, nearly half of people under 50 watch online news videos, and one in 10 adults have posted their own videos of news events to social networking sites.
This year’s report is the eleventh annual survey released by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, and it examines how newspapers, magazines, websites and network and cable news fared over the course of 2013.
Although newspapers remain the biggest employers, online news media startups are growing at a fast pace: Thirty of the largest digital-only news outlets account for approximately 3,000 jobs between them. Digital startups are also investing heavily in international coverage, picking up the slack from legacy media outlets (the number of foreign correspondents employed by US news organizations declined from 307 in 2003 to 234 in 2011). Vice Media has 35 overseas bureaus, BuzzFeed has hired a foreign editor to oversee its expansion into Mumbai, Berlin, and Tokyo, and Quartz’s editorial staff speaks 19 languages.
“One of the big changes this year,” said director of journalism research Amy Mitchell, “was the new level of energy and momentum that emerged around digital reporting.” The surge of development is exciting but, “as of now, it is not negating the challenges facing the news industry.”
Americans are increasingly attached to their cellphones and the internet, and their news habits are evolving. Thirty percent of the adults Pew surveyed get some of their news from Facebook. Fifty percent of social network users share or repost news content, while 46 percent discuss news events on social media.
“The relationship with news has been a little different than it has been in the traditional space,” Mitchell said. Most of the adults who got their news from Facebook weren’t looking for it in particular, she explained, but bumped into it while they were making status updates or chatting with friends.
Local and cable television numbers were less encouraging. Nearly 300 local television stations were sold in 2013, and more stations are being managed jointly by large companies like the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, and sharing content with each other than before. There are joint service agreements (in which stations share news-gathering resources) in nearly half of 210 local television markets nationwide, up from 55 such agreements in 2011. Cable news audiences declined, with the combined median prime-time viewership of CNN, Fox, and MSNBC dropping 11 percent to approximately 3 million, the smallest since 2007.
Print and television advertising are still the major sources for revenue in journalism, making up more than half of the money supporting professional journalism. Newspaper ad revenue in 2012 (the most recent year data was available) was down 52 percent from 2003. Event hosting and web consulting accounted for seven percent of revenue, and money from philanthropy and venture capital investments for one percent.