Last week’s extensive layoffs at the New York Daily News are the just the latest drop in a sea of newsroom cuts the last decade.
Nearly a quarter of newsroom jobs in the U.S., including at digital-only publications, have been eliminated since 2008, dropping from about 114,000 positions in 2008 to 88,000 last year, according to a report from the Pew Research Center.
The bulk of cuts have been at newspapers. The number of employees, like reporters, editors, photographers and videographers, at newspapers specifically is down 45 percent since 2008, when there were roughly 71,000 in those roles. Now, there are about 39,000.
The reduction at newspapers, driven mainly by conglomerates looking to slash their way to profitability, is so deep as to be little improved by the hiring going on within digital newsrooms.
Within newsrooms that operate online-only, hiring increased 79 percent to 13,000 in 2017, from 7,400 in 2008. While growth is growth, the total number of digital newsroom jobs now is roughly a third of the 32,000 traditional newsroom jobs eliminated since 2008.
The year has been a good example of the rolling layoffs in media. In February, Hearst laid off about 130 employees as part of its January takeover of Rodale; Newsday cut more than 50 staffers in New York; Berkshire Hathaway’s media arm cut 148 staffers and eliminated more than 100 unfilled jobs; even “new media” powerhouse Vox did away with 50 employees. As the months have worn on, Univision went the way of buyouts at Gizmodo, which is now for sale, and Tronc is continuing to lay off staffers here and there after cutting nearly 100 people from the Daily News, including about half of its only 85-person newsroom.
Radio news is also having a hard time, with about 27 percent of its workforce cut since 2008, dropping to 3,300 workers in 2017 from 4,600 in 2008.
Meanwhile, employment in broadcast and cable TV newsrooms has held up over the last several years, with 28,000 and 3,000 editorial employees, respectively. Coupled with the cuts at traditional newsrooms, TV news is getting more powerful. The industry now makes up 33 percent of all newsroom workers, compared to 25 percent in 2008, while newspaper workers now only make up 45 percent, down from 62 percent.