Ruta Ulcinaite

How media is changing

The media lives! Well it lives, but it’s not what it used to be. This week I looked at trends about key sectors in the U.S. news media industry, including everything from media audience to media economics. The Pew Research Center has been tracking data throughout the years to compare and analyze how media is changing – and boy is it changing.

We are in the middle of a huge media shift and learning how to adapt for some companies may be tough. It’s tough for newspapers who are still figuring out how to adapt and advance at a rate as fast as other media platforms. According to the Pew Research Center, newspaper newsroom investment in employees is down 15 percent from 2016. Print and digital newspaper audience is down 10 percent from 2016. Total estimated newspaper revenue is also down 16 percent from 2016.

Sorry to start off on a dreary note, but I thought I’d hit with the tough news first.

But it’s not all bad folks!

Although viewership has declined in some time slots for cable news, revenue has continued to increase for stations like CNN, FOX and MSNBC, who saw a 10 percent increase in revenue in 2017.

Hispanic journalists and news directors have increased in numbers since 2017 and that’s something to celebrate since the Hispanic population is such a big part of the United State’s overall entity.

Things are looking pretty good for radio, too. The audience for terrestrial radio remains steady and high. According to Nielsen Media Research data published by the Radio Advertising Bureau, in the year 2017, 90 percent of Americans ages 12 and up listened to terrestrial radio in a given week. And more and more people are listening to podcasts. The chart below shows the percent of Americans ages 12 and older who have listened to a podcast – in the past month, in the past week and ever.

Public broadcasting has also found recent success with audience for public television growing 17 percent from 2016 to 2017. And with all that audience comes an increase in revenue. Nationally NPR increased revenue six percent from 2016 to 2017. Local public radio also increased revenue and station membership from 2016 to 2017.

So while media changes and different outlets have to adapt and find different ways to create revenue for their businesses, people still need and care about the media. I believe people are constantly curious and have a right to know what’s going on in their communities, in their states and in their country. We are all impacted by things going on all around the world, so we need to stay connected. Weather it’s a trendy podcast that keeps you up to date with pop culture or local cable news that keeps you up to date with hard news – it’s all important.

So support local journalism, listen to the radio, invest in monthly subscriptions from your favorite outlets because you deserve to stay informed!

3 thoughts on “How media is changing

  1. These are all great points! Things have changed so much in this industry (even in the four years I’ve been studying journalism at MSU) and I feel very optimistic in the rise of news in sectors outside traditional newspapers. I’m very interested to see if networks like CNN, MSNBC or Fox will fully transform to meet this evolving industry, or if they’ll find their own ways to innovate news. Great article!


  2. Seeing that CNN, FOX, and MSNBC had a rise in revenue is both heartening and disheartening to me. Sometimes I worry that politics will become the only aspect of journalism people care to consume, leaving, for instance, human interest and social justice pieces, by the wayside. We’ve become a more politically aware country, and that’s not a bad thing, but sometimes I wonder if where the political audience grows, other audiences shrink.

    I’m glad at the end of your post you encouraged readers to support journalism directly! That’s such a huge thing nowadays when no one wants to pay for content. Not every bottom line can be met by selling the possibility of money by giving your data to companies. We really have to make a cultural change to support media directly so we see fewer dips in revenue in the future.


  3. I agree with you that there is a downward trend in all aspects of traditional media nowadays. Especially in the case of all aspects of the decline, this will have a certain impact on the wages of workers. When the company is on the verge of bankruptcy, the fate of employees will be changed. Advertising revenue accounts for a large proportion of traditional media. When advertisers feel that the propaganda of traditional media has dropped a lot, then no one will sponsor major news companies. As journalists, this is not good news for our employment and prospects.

    At the end of the blog, you also mentioned that we need to support paper media. I agree with you, but some of the recent paper media have not aroused my interest. I hope that the paper media can publish more interesting content. When the quality of paper media itself declines, we can’t blame customers for not buying their products. Only excellent products can attract loyal customers.


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