The Project for Excellence in Journalism, which is affiliated with Columbia University’s graduate journalism school, has released a study on the American media which paints a bleak picture of traditional news sources:
“Trust in journalism has been declining for a generation,” said project director Tom Rosenstiel. “This study suggests one reason is that news media are locked in a vicious cycle. As audiences fragment, newsrooms are cut back, which further erodes public trust.”
Circulation of English-language daily newspapers has dropped 11 percent since 1990; network news ratings are down 34 percent since 1994; late night local TV news viewership fell 16 percent lower since 1997 and cable news viewership has been flat since late 2001.
The report cataloged a striking decline in the number of journalists employed in American newsrooms. There were one third fewer network correspondents than in 1985; 2,200 fewer people at newspapers than in 1990; and the number of full-time radio newsroom employees fell by 44 percent from 1994 to 2001.
On the bright side, the study found that “only ethnic, alternative and online media” were flourishing.
Well, our overhead is lower. Since we don’t get paid.
The New York Times spun this story in its own inimitable way. Here is its headline: “Study Finds a Waning Appetite for News”. “News,” of course, is what they print.