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This study is part of a larger Pew Research Center effort to examine the state of news, information and journalism in America. It was supported by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Digital disruption has upended the newspaper industry, putting thousands of journalists out of work and severing community ties that long gave newspapers their distinctive heft. In communities that once had strong local newspapers, now there are often no traditional news sources at all—a condition known as a “news desert.” In Death of the Daily News, Andrew Conte follows one such town, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, to see what happens when local news disappears and residents try to make sense of their community on their own.
The digital transition has led to a huge increase in online video content, but it is not yet clear whether this growth will benefit the news business. Many of these videos are sourced from social media and other non-news sources, or are repurposed TV content. A smaller share were originally created for the web, either by original news sites or by aggregators. While video adds drama and immediacy, young and older audiences alike still value the control and flexibility of text.
In a time of declining print readership, the newspaper industry has tried many different strategies to attract digital audiences. But the data in this report suggest that the answer may lie less in technological solutions—which are not without their drawbacks—and more in rethinking what news is for and how it should be presented.
The Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2022 project is an ongoing investigation into the changing landscape of news, information and journalism in the United States. For this report, the Center analyzed website traffic data from Comscore to gauge unique monthly visitors to top 50 U.S. daily newspapers’ websites. The results are based on average unique visitors in the fourth quarter of 2022.