Tough Business

For the past quarter century, digital transformations in how news is produced, distributed, and consumed have upended the business of journalism. A few newspapers—namely the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post—have managed to attract millions of online subscribers, some of them outside the United States, who are willing to pay for quality reporting and for whom the dead-tree edition is an afterthought. But, particularly at the state and local levels, many outlets have suffered acute losses or shuttered altogether. Between 2008 and 2020, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis, the number of reporters, editors, photographers, and videographers in America fell by more than 25 percent, from 114,000 to 85,000. There are now more fast-food workers in Indiana than newsroom workers in the entire country; public relations specialists outnumber journalists by more than three to one.

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