News Meets News Meets New Media.

TV will remain the dominant advertising market in the US through 2018, when it is projected to reach $83.6 billion in revenues. But internet advertising revenues are growing quickly and will begin to challenge TV’s supremacy, rising by more than 50% between 2013 ($42.8 billion) and 2018 ($65.9 billion). By 2018, the newspaper ad market ($16.6 billion) will have shrunk to the point where it will be smaller than the radio and consumer magazine publishing advertising markets, per the PwC forecast.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) | http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/online/us-advertising-market-sizes-by-medium-2018-v-2013-43194/

The newspaper industry alone shed 28% of its employees since its peak in 2001, according to The American Society of News Editors’ annual newsroom census, and in 2012, that number is estimated to have dipped below 40,000 employees for the first time since the census began in 1978.ScreenHunter_653 Jul. 05 06.28.jpg

From 1998 through 2010, eighteen newspapers and two newspaper chains closed all of their foreign bureaus, according to a tally by American Journalism Review. Other outlets reduced the number of correspondents in their bureaus.ScreenHunter_652 Jul. 05 06.26.jpg

Estimates for newspaper newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30% since 2000 and below 40,000 full-time professional employees for the first time since 1978. In local TV, our special content report reveals, sports, weather and traffic now account on average for 40% of the content produced on the newscasts studied while story lengths shrink. On CNN, the cable channel that has branded itself around deep reporting, produced story packages were cut nearly in half from 2007 to 2012.

A growing list of media outlets, such as Forbes magazine, use technology by a company called Narrative Science to produce content by way of algorithm, no human reporting necessary. ScreenHunter_654 Jul.jpg

This adds up to a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands. And findings from our new public opinion survey released in this report reveal that the public is taking notice. Nearly one-third of the respondents (31%) have deserted a news outlet because it no longer provides the news and information they had grown accustomed to.

At the same time, newsmakers and others with information they want to put into the public arena have become more adept at using digital technology and social media to do so on their own, without any filter by the traditional media.  They are also seeing more success in getting their message into the traditional media narrative.  

So far, this trend has emerged most clearly in the political sphere, particularly with the biggest story of 2012—the presidential election. A Pew Research Center analysis revealed that campaign reporters were acting primarily as megaphones, rather than as investigators, of the assertions put forward by the candidates and other political partisans.  That meant more direct relaying of assertions made by the campaigns and less reporting by journalists to interpret and contextualize them. The campaigns also found more ways than ever to connect directly with citizens.  

There are signs of this trend that carry beyond the political realm, as more and more entities seek, by various means, to fill the void left by overstretched editorial resources.

In circumventing the media altogether, one company, Contently, connects thousands of journalists, many of them ex-print reporters, with commercial brands to help them produce their own content, including brand-oriented magazines. In early March, Fortune took that step, launching a program for advertisers called Fortune TOC—Trusted Original Content—in which Fortune writers, for a fee, create original Fortune-branded editorial content for marketers to distribute exclusively on their own platforms.

Efforts by political and corporate entities to get their messages into news coverage are nothing new. What is different now—adding up the data and industry developments—is that news organizations are less equipped to question what is coming to them or to uncover the stories themselves, and interest groups are better equipped and have more technological tools than ever.

While traditional newsrooms have shrunk, however, there are other new players producing content that could advance citizens’ knowledge about public issues.

They are covering subject areas that would have once been covered more regularly and deeply by beat reporters at traditional news outlets—areas such as health, science and education.

For news organizations, distinguishing between high-quality information of public value and agenda-driven news has become an increasingly complicated task, made no easier in an era of economic churn.