(Corrects that the majority of 5,000 new jobs were added over
the past six years, not 2013, paragraph 7)
By Jennifer Saba
March 26 A new wave of funding by
technology-savvy investors into U.S. media companies is driving
momentum in journalism, even as news organizations continue to
face challenges, according to a report issued on Wednesday.
The level of media investing activity is forging the
underpinnings of "game-changing" developments for the industry,
according to the Pew Research Center's State of the News Media
2014 report, which cited funding from entrepreneurs like
Amazon's Jeff Bezos and eBay founder Pierre
"There is an unmistakable sense of new energy that emerged
over this last year," said Amy Mitchell, director of journalism
research at Pew and an author of the report. "What we are seeing
are individuals with ties to technology companies and an innate
understanding for technology move into reporting."
Bezos, the founder of online retail giant Amazon, stunned
the media sector last August with his deal to acquire the
Washington Post for $250 million from its longtime owners, the
Graham family. Bezos has said told employees of the newspaper
that they will have to "invent" and "experiment" as the Internet
revolutionizes the news business.
In October, Omidyar said he would build an independent media
organization covering news from sports to politics for
Venture capital firms invested at least $300 million into
new media digital startups in 2013, which have added new jobs
over the past year, the Pew report estimates.
The report said that its first-ever tally found about 5,000
full-time jobs, the majority of which were added in the last six
years, were created at nearly 500 digital news outlets ranging
from BuzzFeed to Gawker to smaller local outfits.
"Even as the challenges of the past several years continue
and new ones emerge, the activities of this year have created a
new sense of optimism - or perhaps hope - for the future of
American journalism," the authors of the study wrote.
Several new media startups including Vox Media and Mashable,
which are investing in reporting, have received millions of
dollars in venture funding the past year.
Still, the study cautioned the new investments and jobs
represent only a sliver of the overall media industry, which is
hemorrhaging revenue and slashing headcount.
The report estimates that the news industry in the United
States generated roughly $60 billion in annual revenue with
advertising accounting for almost 70 percent. Investment from
venture capital and philanthropy amount to only 1 percent of the
In comparison, Google alone generated about $59 billion in
revenue last year.
Overall, the newspaper industry, which accounts for the
largest portion of reporting, lost more than 16,000 jobs from
2002 until 2012. The industry now counts about 38,000 editorial
The State of the News Media takes a wide survey of the media
landscape including cable and broadcast television. This year
marks the 11th edition of the report.
The authors also noted the feeding frenzy for local
broadcast TV stations that resulted in several big acquisition
deals for Gannett, Sinclair, and Tribune Co
Transactions were up more than 200 percent with value of $8
billion worth of deals up 367 percent.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Leslie