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40 fascinating facts about the news industry

  • US trust in media is lower than in other countries

    At 29%, Americans’ trust in the news is among the lowest in the developed world. The highest trust levels were found in Finland and in Portugal, at 56% each, in a recent survey of 38 countries. At the bottom of the list were South Korea, with a 21% trust level, and France, at 23%.

  • Americans look to Facebook as a news source

    More than four in 10 internet users in America say they get their news from Facebook. Just 17% said they got their news from Twitter, and 14% from Instagram, according to 2019 research. But two-thirds said it was traditional media that they trusted for general news and information.

  • CNN pioneers 24-hour news format

    The first 24-hour television news network was Cable News Network, aka CNN, which debuted in 1980 and challenged the dominance of CBS, ABC, and NBC, which each aired 30-minute nightly newscasts. Mocked at first as the Chicken Noodle Network, CNN hit its stride with its live coverage of the Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986, the three-day-long rescue of toddler Jessica McClure from a well in Midland, Texas in 1987, and live reports from the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

  • American colonists have dozens of newspapers

    The nation’s first independent newspaper was the New England Courant, which began publication in 1721 by Benjamin Franklin’s older brother James. By the start of the Revolutionary War, the colonies had 37 independent newspapers. The first daily newspaper was the Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, which started up in 1784.

  • Newspaper circulation is plummeting

    Newspaper circulation in the United States at 28.6 million on weekdays in 2018 hit its lowest level since 1940, the earliest year with data. Newspaper advertising revenues sank to $14.3 billion in 2018 from $37.8 billion a decade earlier, a decline of 62%.


  • Number of newspaper jobs drops by nearly half in a decade

    As the newspaper business has been shrinking, employment at U.S. newspapers fell by a whopping 47% in the decade from 2008 to 2018, to about 38,000 workers from 71,000. Also in 2018, a quarter of newspapers with circulation over 50,000 had layoffs. The year before, one third of them had layoffs.

  • Financial woes of newspaper industry are overlooked

    Most Americans are unaware of the news industry’s dire financial straits. A 2018 survey found nearly three-quarters thought their local news media was faring well financially. In the same survey, just 14% said they had paid for news through a subscription, donation, or membership in the past year.

  • Nearly all Americans get news digitally

    Nine in 10 Americans get some of their news digitally, and about half of those people get it through a mobile device like a smartphone rather than on a desktop or laptop computer. More than four in 10 get news alerts on their phones.

  • Starting wages for news reporters average $14.50 per hour

    An entry-level news reporter can expect to earn about $29,000 a year, or $14.50 an hour, and a mid-career reporter could see an average yearly salary of about $53,000. A reporter with more than 10 years of experience could expect to make about $59,000, topping out at about $80,000 with more than 20 years of experience.

  • Most highly paid news anchor gets $40 million salary

    The nation’s most highly paid news anchor in 2019 was Sean Hannity at Fox News, who was paid a $40 million annual salary, followed in a distant second by ABC’s Diane Sawyer with a $22 million salary. ABC’s “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts made $18 million, George Stephanopoulos of ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “ABC World News Tonight” was paid $15 million, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper was paid $12 million.