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Television news loves covering campaigns, but the number of network journalists assigned to report on the nitty gritty of getting things done in Washington has eroded, with Pew Research finding the combined accredited staff for CNN, Fox News, CBS, ABC and NBC (including MSNBC) shrinking 10 percent in 2014–to 974 people.
Another measure, by Hudson, tracks the number of news executives, correspondents and anchors for the TV news divisions in Washington. And again, the figures show a significant drop:
Those numbers reinforce the sense of scale-back: Hudson’s listed a total of 64 core TV news staff for these networks in 2015, a number that is down by nearly a quarter from the 84 staff listed in 2008 and half the number of staff that were listed in 1985.
Where’s the growth among the Washington press corps? Digital. “In 2009, fewer than three dozen journalists working for digital-native outlets were accredited to the Press Gallery,” Pew reports. “By 2014, that number had risen to more than 130 – roughly a four-fold increase.”