Pew State of the News Media: Rising New Media Can’t Keep Up With Crumbling Old Media

The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism today published its annual “State of the News Media” report, and a first glance at the report reveals some grim findings. Although new media appear to be flourishing, growth in citizen journalism and social networking currently lags behind deterioration in the major media industry.

Print publications are suffering tremendously. Revenue at newspaper organizations has declined 26% over the past year and 43% over the past three years. Magazine ad dollars have fallen 17% in the past year. Over the past decade, the newspaper industry has lost $1.6 billion in “annual reporting and editing capacity.” That’s a 30% decline, and Pew along with Rick Edmonds of the Poynter Institute expects further capacity reductions in the coming year.

Despite some signs that the broader economy may be due to recover soon, the media business appears stuck in a deeper rut, says the report:

The market research and investment banking firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson projects that by 2013, after the economic recovery, three elements of old media — newspapers, radio and magazines — will take in 41% less in ad revenues than they did in 2006.

And where is the nascent new-media industry, which some hope will swoop in to pick up the slack generated by cuts in major private news outlets?

A project led by Jan Schaffer that studies new media, estimates that roughly $141 million of nonprofit money has flowed into new media efforts over the last four years (not including public broadcasting). That is less than one-tenth of the losses in newspaper resources alone.

Unless resources begin flowing to new-media and citizen-journalism projects at a much higher rate, it looks like journalism is in for a protracted slump.