The annual reports of the Pew research center on the media is a landmark for all media experts. It gives an exhaustive account of the health of the American media. It is also a useful reminder for the Europeans who are aware that what happens in the US will soon cross the Atlantic;
The Pew states that the American public is still very interested by the news. However, 50% of the population use digital media to get informed. This way, they have access to all media which are delivered in a way or another through the Web. But, and it is a big but, the offer is not so great. Due to economic problems the journalist population is schrincking. In 2013, the newspapers employ 40000 people which is the same level as 1978 and it keeprs going down.
Local television, an important media in the US is following the same way. It devotes 40% of its space to traffic, weather and sports. Politics and government are limited to 3%. It is obvious that investigative journalism is stalled thanks to a lack of money and human means. Local reporting suffers as much as national or foreign news.
To face a dramatic financial crisis due to the fall of advertising, the newspapers develop paying services. Out of 1380 American newspapers, 450 have adopted the paying wall and more will do the same this year.
Cable news channels are fairly successfull but they are more and more partisan to reach a public which wishes to be comforted in its opinions. There again, investigative journalism has not a great future.
What can be done to stop this process which is also apparent this side of the Atlantic? I'll go back to it in another blog.