Employment in journalism has plummeted to levels not seen since the 1970s, after peaking during halcyon days of the early 1990s. Compiled from data gathered by the American Society of News Editors, the chart above shows newsroom staff in 2011 dropped to levels not seen in the U.S. since 1978. Newsosaur writes:
Newspapers now employ 40,600 editors and reporters vs. a peak of 56,900 in the pre-Internet year of 1990, according to the census released today. Thus, newsroom headcount has fallen by 28.6% from its modern-day high.
Granted, there’s nothing particularly newsworthy about the decline of newspaper staff. And there is one bright spot. The ASNE data collection project began to track the number of journalist of color who were working at papers across the U.S. In 1979 just 3.6 percent of reporters were people of color compared to 12.3 percent in 2011. While this figure lags well behind the overall racial diversity of the American populace, it’s an indication that more than technology has changed in newsrooms.
Also not included in he data are journalism jobs at online-only shops like Gawker or Aol’s cornucopia of Internet media properties such as Huffpo and Patch. While not enough to offset industry-wide decline, there are thousands of modern journalists working full time whose last chance to see their name in print was likely time spent working for the college rag.
H/T PBS MediaShift