In 2015, newspapers continued to see declines in circulation, revenue and number of employees, according to the Pew Research “State of the News Media 2016” report.
“Average weekday newspaper circulation, print and digital combined, fell another 7% in 2015, the greatest decline since 2010,” it says, while Sunday circulation also fell 4 percent. Total advertising revenue for publicly traded companies fell 8 percent for both print and digital. The latest newspaper newsroom employment number, which are from 2014, reveal a 10 percent reduction, the most since 2009. Newspaper employment has dropped nearly 40 percent in the past 20 years
As for newspapers’ once vaunted value and penetration, a January 2016 Pew Research Center survey found only 5 percent of people described a newspaper as the most helpful source for information about the presidential election, trailing every other source.
That is all daily newspapers. The report is silent on community newspapers.
An article published June 1 by Editor & Publisher says community papers are thriving and have managed to avoid layoffs.
“You don’t hear about community papers going out of business. It’s not the doom and gloom that major market papers face. At a recent press association meeting, I met several people who say they started a (small) paper two or three years ago. I started one in 2008. Weekly and small dailies are faring better than our major counterparts,” the article quotes Chip Hutcheson, president of the National Newspaper Association as saying.
A 2013 study conducted by The Reynolds Journalism Institute for NNA found 67 percent of residents in small U.S. communities read local newspapers. Don Reynolds was once the owner of the Las Vegas daily newspaper.
The NNA conducted an informal survey of its members in March and was told almost 11 percent of papers had an increase in circulation.