Journalism Statistics - Featured Image

22 Amazing Journalism Statistics Showing Current Industry Trends

Since the invention of the printing machine in the 15th century, journalism has been present in all cultures. It’s been a noble and influential profession for centuries now. But, it’s key characteristics started to change dramatically with the development of the digital world. 

We’re bringing you the latest journalism statistics for a detailed insight into what it means to be a journalist today, and information on the current state of the industry.

Journalism Statistics - Highlights

  • 33% of teachers say there is a rise in journalism class enrollment. 
  • Radio broadcasting reaches 90% of the US population on a weekly basis. 
  • Employment in journalism plummeted by 23% since 2008. 
  • Employment in television news is on the rise. 
  • Women are still a minority among journalists. 
  • 49% of people who shared fake news online didn’t know they were fake. 

Interesting Journalism Facts and Statistics

Without a doubt, journalism can be a powerful force. Whether it’s informing the public on important and hidden information or arguing for more human and social rights, journalism proved to be able to drive social change. Let’s check some interesting statistics and some crazy journalism facts which show just how powerful the field can be. 

1. Going undercover is a centuries-old method in journalism. 

(IrishCentral) 

Going undercover on a journalist task is perhaps considered old-fashioned today, but it proved historically important in bringing new and socially engaged stories. Irish-American journalist Nellie Bly did just that in 1880. She faked mental illness to get into the New York mental asylum and exposed horrible conditions in which the patients were taken care of. Later on, thanks to her detailed story, NYC budgeted additional $1 million to the asylum. 

2. 33% of teachers say there is a rise in journalism class enrollment.

(Education Week, The New York Times) 

According to teachers in journalism schools and colleges, new generations of journalists are definitely showing up eagerly. Student journalism statistics show that 33% of teachers say they’re seeing a rise in class enrollment, and 30% of them report they’re witnessing a surge in interest in journalism. 

3. According to travel journalism statistics, travel writing is currently still in high demand. 

(OptinMonster) 

The travel market saw an expansion in the last decade, making  travel journalism and travel writing more popular. Experts in travel journalism note the importance of this genre of journalism as its content effortlessly extends to social media and blogs through sharing travel experiences, amazing photography and video —  all  types of content with high engagement. And it’s true —  33% of travelers in the US use travel blogs as their source of information when planning a trip. 

It seems that traditional travel writing seamlessly adapted to the digital era providing even more opportunities than before. 

4. Statistics about journalism show that Twitter is the most valuable social media to journalists. 

(Muck Rack) 

Apparently, journalists are not that fond of Facebook as 40% of them are using it but report they plan to use it even less. Instead, Twitter proved to be the most valuable social media to them, according to 83% of journalists who cited it as an essential social media in building readership. And it actually makes perfect sense. As Facebook became the largest global social media, it became quite crowded and there’s a lot of “noise” in content, making it hard for posts to reach the readers. 

On the other hand, Twitter’s users are less distracted by endless content and have proved to be more avid and interested readers in general. 

5. News media statistics show that television news is gaining popularity in the US. 

(Pew Research Center, Statista) 

As the influence of newspapers and radio in delivering news continue to fall, digital media and television are rising. On average, 5.9 hours of local news is shown on television on weekdays. On top of that, the audience for daytime news increased by another 5%. The total revenue in TV news also increased by 4%. Traditionally, prime time news always draws in a larger audience but it seems that the daytime slots are catching up, especially when it comes to cable television news. 

6. Don’t count out radio just yet — radio broadcasting reaches 90% of the population in the US. 

(Statista) 

One of the most interesting facts about journalism is that the readership is largely defined by their way of life; picking a time to sit and watch news (or read the newspapers) depends on our jobs, daily obligations and other personal preferences. Even though radio broadcasting is losing its influence when it comes to news reporting, its impact is hardly negligible. 

Since the US is known as a “commuter land”, people are mostly listening to radio in their cars and in this way, its program actually reaches 90% of the population on a weekly basis. 

7. Newspaper readership statistics show a dramatic decline in print newspapers. 

(Statista) 

Newspaper readership has been in a downfall since 2008, when digital media started to take over. It’s a trend that will most likely continue and print newspapers will probably become a luxury item mostly intended for subscribers. When looking at circulation numbers, they have decreased from 63.3 million (weekly) in 1984 to 28.5 million in 2018.

Journalism Employment Statistics

Obviously, digital media made a huge impact on modern journalism. The industry had to act quick to adapt to new technologies to keep and attract readerships. These changes are perhaps best visible when it comes to employment in journalism. 

8. Employment in journalism has been continually declining in the last decade. 

(Pew Research Center)

According to journalism job statistics, since 2008, employment in journalism dropped by 23%. Newspapers and radio journalism took the biggest hit, while employment in television journalism remained the same and digital media journalism employment rose. Up until 2014, the employment rates were dropping fast, before the situation stabilized and the decline became more manageable. 

Have in mind that employment in journalism doesn’t only entail strictly journalists and reporters; it also includes videographers, photographers, editors and other technical occupations. 

9. Employment in newspaper publishing companies is plummeting fast. 

(Pew Research Center)

According to the analysis of Bureau of Labor data, newsroom employees in newspapers made up 62% of total newsroom employees in 2008. In 2019, this share fell to 40%. Print journalism statistics show that the fall of employment with newspaper publishers is most dramatic when compared to other media; the total number of employees has more than halved since 2008. 

10. Employment in television news broadcasting is on the rise. 

(Pew Research Center)

Even though the biggest rise in employment can be seen in digital-native media (so called “born-on-the-web” media), broadcast television is seeing an improvement as well. In 2008, its employees made for 25% of total newsroom employment, which rose to 34% in 2019, newspaper statistics show. In both newspapers and television news, reporters continue to make 45% to 50% of the newsroom workforce. 

11. By 2026, the job market in journalism will shrink by 10.1%. 

(CareerExplorer) 

According to CareerExplorer’s journalism career statistics, the growth of demand for journalists will lead to a total shrinking of the market by 10.1%. Meanwhile, competition for traditional roles in journalism is likely to become fiercer. On the other hand, it’s expected that opportunities for freelancers, digital web content creators and editors (especially with smaller niches) will continue to grow. 

12. The average journalism pay is below the national average. 

(PayScale, CareerExplorer, Statista) 

PayScale reports that the current average journalism salaries stand at  $40,802 per year with an hourly rate of $14.88. According to CareerExplorer’s research, the average pay is even lower — $37,093 per year with a median hourly rate of $17.83. This is 38% less than the national average for the total job market in the US. On top of that, junior level journalists will typically earn as little as $27,576 per year. 

For the majority of journalists, it takes years to achieve serious career advancement. And when they do, they usually earn around $65,154, an average yearly pay for top-level journalists, indicating a lower journalism pay rate compared to other careers. 

The state of the market is similar when it comes to local journalism. Statista’s data shows that on average, a local reporter makes around $40,000 per year. 

13. According to journalism workforce statistics, women are still a minority among journalists. 

(Poynter, Statista)

Women make up for the majority of students when it comes to journalism schools and colleges, but still struggle to reach equality when it comes to the actual workforce in journalism. Not a single major news publication has more than 49% of women in its workforce. In fact, the best selling newspaper in the US (USA Today) has the smallest portion of female employees — only 31%. 

14. 84% of the Pulitzer Prize winners are men. 

(Women’s Media Center) 

When we take a closer look at women in journalism statistics, it’s clear that journalism has been pretty much a “boy’s club”. The Pulitzer Prize, the highest achievement for journalists in the US, has been predominantly awarded to men. Only in recent years have we been seeing an increase in formal recognition of female journalists, but it’s still a long way to the full equality in this area. 

15. Diversity in journalism statistics show that the journalism workforce is less diverse than an average US workforce. 

(Pew Research Center) 

The progressive forces of journalism are not exactly reflected in its workforce. This is perhaps best visible in the racial structure of the workforce, where 77% of the total employees are white. In the total workforce of all industries combined, white employees make for 65% of workers. The racial gap is even higher with older employees in journalism, but it has been shrinking in younger generations. 

16. Freelance journalism rates are still on the rise. 

(First Monday, Freelance Writing) 

As freelance writers rarely officially register the details of their employment (they’re not obliged to do so) it is difficult to trace the official data showcasing the state of the job market. Still, some conducted studies suggest that the market has been steadily growing since 2008. In a study conducted by UpWork, 71% of respondents reported that their workload obtained online has increased over the previous year. 

However, Freelance Writing’s study shows that a range of freelance writers is quite a wide one and only a small minority of them earns the full average wage per year. On average, a freelance writer works around 20 hours per year and earns around $10,000. Those who earn more than $40,000 work full-time. 

17. The number of journalists in the world is not necessarily in decline. 

(Eurostat) 

Even though the number of journalists in the US is declining, the same can’t be said for the rest of the world. In Europe, the current situation is significantly different. Currently, there are almost half a million employed journalists with the highest levels of employment in Estonia and Sweden. Compared to five years ago, the rate of employed journalists increased by almost 10%. 

Journalism Statistics - Pen on White Lined Paper

Journalism Facts on Fake News and Biased Reporting

Digital media brought numerous positive aspects for journalism and possibilities have never been broader. While the industry is adapting and attempting to merge traditional ways of doing journalism to contemporary ones, another issue arose: fake news. Here is how these trends impact journalism and people’s trust in news outlets. 

18. Sharing fake news online is currently one of the most negative trends in journalism.

(Statista) 

It’s getting more and more difficult to recognize fake news on social media. Websites spreading false information became more savvy than ever in distributing posts and developing sophisticated websites. That’s one of the reasons why 49% of people who shared fake news on social media only later found out that the news they shared were fake. 

Perhaps even more alarming for the current news media landscape is that 10% of those who shared fake news did so intentionally, being fully aware that they’re sharing false information. 

19. Statistics on bias in journalism tell us that people keep watching and reading the news, but rarely fully believe them. 

(Science Advances) 

Complaining of bias in news media is as old as the news media itself. It seems that people always think that the media will favor one position over another. A Gallup poll showed that 78% of Americans think it’s unacceptable for a news outlet to favor one political party over another and yet, 64% of them think that the news media generally favors Democrats. On top of that, not even 20% of them believe that the media can report the news unbiased. 

20. 62% of Americans believe news to be too controlled by social media companies.

(Pew Research Center) 

Reading news distributed across social media is one of the biggest current journalism trends. Still, there’s a downside to this. As many studies, including social media companies themselves, have now shown, social media deliver news to their users based on their interests, previous behaviour on social media and their own political beliefs. 

The result is that everyone’s only seeing information they want to see. Remember, the end-goal with news on social media is not bringing you information but securing high engagement on the post. This is one of the reasons why Americans are now increasingly aware of this downside, as 62% of them think that social media has too much control over news distribution. 

21. “Fake news” or yellow journalism statistics: 74% of news consumers are worried about “fake news” on the coronavirus. 

(Statista) 

Long before we knew about “fake news”, there was yellow journalism. Characterized by high sensationalism and dramatic reporting (on partly fabricated stories), yellow journalism facts show started it gained wide popularity in the second half of the 20th century, mostly thanks to tabloid magazines. 

Its 21st century equivalent, and a more dangerous one, are “fake news”. In fact, during the beginning of reporting on the coronavirus in March 2020, 74% news consumers reported they’re worried about being exposed to false news on the spread of the virus. 

22. Data journalism statistics show that only 25% journalists think they’re well-equipped to interpret statistical sources. 

(NiemanLab) 

Data journalism is a way of reporting that is based on using statistics and other hard facts sources. The main idea is to bring journalism to factual and objective reporting as much as possible. This kind of journalism is becoming even more important in the current era of false news. 

It’s quite alarming then that only 25% of journalists think they’re trained enough to do just that. However, the journalistic community agrees on the importance of using statistical data: 80% of journalists think that interpreting statistics from sources is a very valuable skill in the profession. 

Conclusion - The Future of Journalism

As these journalism statistics and facts show, journalism is a dynamic industry currently dealing with major changes. Since 2008 and the spread of digital media, the way we consume information has changed drastically. These changes also caused ways of earning revenue to change, which only became more complicated with the rise of social media. However, despite some not-so-positive predictions for the job market in journalism, digital media will bring even more opportunities for journalists, favoring freelance writers and specialized niche writers. 

FAQ

How big is the journalism industry?

The yearly revenue in the journalism industry in the US is $24.65 billion. It’s a massive decline compared to 2005, when the revenue stood at $49.4. The fall is predominantly caused by the rising popularity of digital media which decreased the traditional revenue in the industry. 

How many journalists are there in the United States?

According to journalism employment statistics, there are currently 87,150 employed journalists in the United States. This is a significant fall compared to 2008 when there were 114,260 employed journalists. The biggest fall in employment happened with newspaper publishers while digital media and television note increase in employment. 

What is the demand for journalists?

Unfortunately, the demand for journalists in traditional positions is not very high. Because of that, competition is becoming fiercer than ever and it is expected for the journalist job market to decrease by 10.1% by 2026, according to recent journalism statistics on employment. However, the demand is higher with freelance writers, especially those in niche topics like travel, science, etc. 

What are the 4 types of journalism?

There are several types of journalism, depending on the content and stories produced and the media outlet used for delivering stories to the audience. Generally speaking, we can distinguish five main types of journalism: investigative, news, reviews, columns and feature-writing. Of course, when divided by content, you’ll find subtypes such as science journalism, travel journalism, broadcast journalism, sports journalism, etc. 

Is journalism a good career?

Whether journalism is a good career option for you will entirely depend on your drive and passion for what journalism brings along. Even though the current state of the industry isn’t at its best, as our journalism statistics showed, it’s a dynamic and respected profession with a high sense of purpose and responsibility. Make sure to check your options and use this insight as a starting ground in developing a plan on how to put yourself out there. 

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