For years, the newspaper and print publishing industry has seen large scale declines in employment, while internet publishing and broadcasting portals have seen significant increases. Whether it is established companies making the transition to web-based media (i.e. The New York Times), or new, entirely web-based companies (i.e. Politico), it is clear that the future of journalism revolves around the internet. Large newspaper companies such as New Media/GateHouse continue to report circulation numbers in the millions, but local newspapers have cut over 10 thousand employees since 2013. Multi-media journalists (MMJs) are becoming more and more important in today’s news industry, with 56.6 percent of local TV newsrooms using mostly MMJs, and the average TV newsroom employing nearly 5 MMJs.
Aside from the challenges associated with digital disruption, journalists must also report to a public which, in many places, is becoming increasingly skeptical of their motives. The United States has very low levels of trust in the news media, with only 34 percent of the population reporting that they trust news media. While local news is seen as more trustworthy than national news, large portions of the population believe that mainstream media is more interested in making money than telling the truth. In addition to public skepticism, journalists in some parts of the world face even greater threats from their governments and criminal organizations. Fifty journalists were killed in 2017, 54 kidnapped, and another 202 arrested. The number of journalists imprisoned as a consequence of their work has risen drastically in recent years, doubling between 2008 and 2017. Although 45 countries are seen as having freedom of the press, around 37 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where the press is not free.
The journalism industry is certainly facing a period of transition, and while the job of keeping the public informed grows all the more difficult, it also becomes all the more important.