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,, Newspaper Association of America, Project for Excellence in Journalism,


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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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