Stop the Presses

A statistical snapshot of our rapidly shrinking media universe.

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  • Since 1972, the percentage of Americans who read a newspaper every day has dropped from 70% to less than 40%.
  • Between 1990 and 2004, daily newspaper circulation dropped 11%, from 62 million to 55 million.
  • 2/3 of independent newspaper owners have shut down in the past three decades.
  • Less than one-fifth of the nation’s 1,500 daily newspapers are independently owned.
  • Nearly 40% of newspapers, accounting for almost 70% of daily circulation, are owned by major newspaper chains.
  • More than half of all U.S. markets are dominated by one paper.
  • Newspapers are expected to make $50 billion from advertising in 2007.
  • Online advertising is expected to account for around 6% of newspapers’ total ad revenues in 2007.
  • The newspaper industry has cut 2,800 full-time newsroom jobs this decade.
  • The value of the United States’ airwaves has been estimated at $367 billion.
  • The number of companies owning TV stations has dropped 40% since 1995.
  • 1/3 of independent TV owners have left the business.
  • Less than 4% of television stations are owned by minorities.
  • The number of radio station owners has dropped by 34% since 1996, when ownership rules were relaxed.
  • 1/3 of local radio stations are owned by out-of-town conglomerates.
  • Comcast and TimeWarner serve 40% of households with cable TV.
  • Since the passage of the Telecom Act of 1996, cable TV rates have gone up 40%.
  • Nearly one-fifth of Americans get their Internet access via AOL/TimeWarner.

Sources: Common Cause, Isp-Planet.com, Newspaper Association of America, Project for Excellence in Journalism, StopBigMedia.com

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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