After a couple years of relatively small job losses, the American Society of Newspaper Editors reported that newsroom employment dropped by an unexpectedly large number in 2012.
According to the annual ASNE census, newsrooms lost 2,600 jobs in 2012 versus a net loss of 900 jobs combined in 2010-2011. The 2012 figure was far higher than was predicted just a few months ago, showing that newspapers continue to suffer in the digital age.
The total number of full-time professional editorial jobs now stands at 38,000, which is the first time it has been below 40,000 since ASNE started compiling the census in 1978. That figure is down almost one-third from a peak of 56,400 in 2000. The biggest portion of those losses occurred during the recession years of 2007 – 2009, when newspapers shed 13,500 jobs.
The figures actually may be under-reported, as several large newspapers that have been cutting staff for years, including USA Today and the Los Angeles Times, didn’t return their surveys.
As the public continues to move toward the digital consumption of news, further declines in newsroom staffing are virtually guaranteed to occur.