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News Investment

News Investment

By the Project for Excellence in Journalism

Gathering large-scale information on investments in ethnic newsrooms is difficult. There is no measurement of staffing and investment in “ethnic media newsrooms.” Drilling down farther, there are no real figures on Korean-American or Indian-American media. Most of these outlets have small staffs.

The Hispanic media, however, do collect data through the Latino Print Network. And while stories on significant staff moves among the big Hispanic broadcasters may not detail investment and staffing figures, they at least lay out the contours and general directions of news investment.

According to figures from the Latino Print Network, overall staffing (full- and part-time) at Hispanic daily newspapers was down in 2006 for the first time since 2003 – 4,174 total staff in 2006 vs. 4,536 in 2005. For weeklies, the figure also was down in 2006, to 4,249 from 4,269 in 2005. At less-than-weeklies, the figure climbed slightly, to 1,939 in 2006 from 1,918 in 2005.

Staffing at Hispanic Newspapers
Design Your Own Chart
Source: Kirk Whisler & Latino Print Network, Carlsbad, CA

The decline looks especially noticeable among dailies – the drop of 362 staffers equals about 8% of the 2005 total. But the Latino Print Network collected data from four fewer dailies in 2006. The result is that the actual per-daily decline is not so dramatic. On average there were two more staffers at the Hispanic dailies for which the network gathers data – 110 in 2006 vs. 108 in 2005. Weeklies had a slight decline in average staff size – from 12 in 2005 to 11 in 2206. Less-than-weeklies held steady at six staff members.

Average Staffing at Hispanic Newspapers
Design Your Own Chart
Source: Kirk Whisler & Latino Print Network, Carlsbad, CA

And the staffers at daily and weekly newspaper are slightly less busy, according to the network’s data, thanks, in part, to thinner publications. The data show the “average pages per staff per issue” down at dailies, to 0.9 pages per staffer in 2006 from 1.2 pages in 2005. Weeklies also saw a slight drop, with the average pages per staffer at 5.0 in 2006, down from 5.3 in 2005. In theory, this means staffers have more time to devote to individual stories, with the hope of improving on quality.

For less-than-weeklies, where staffs are usually smallest, the publications got thicker and the workload increased substantially, to 6.9 pages per issue in 2006 from 3.8 pages in 2005. Those numbers may be a sign that these publications, usually found in emerging ethnic communities, are growing rapidly. In time, they may stabilize their publication schedules and increase staff.

Staff and Publication Size

The papers that saw the biggest increase in size were the less-than-weeklies, which climbed to an average of 39 pages per issues in 2006 from 21 in 2005. This 86% increase may signal that some less-than-weeklies – again highly visible in new immigrant communities – may be getting ready to the take the next step into the weekly category.

But, once they have moved to the next stage, there may have a different issue to deal with.

Even though the number of weeklies grew significantly in 2006 (See Audience Section), their overall staff sizes are smaller and they are producing fewer pagers per issue. As weeklies blossom in new immigrant communities, the numbers show that it is likely, as newcomers, they would have fewer pages than more established publications.

The average number of pages in the Latino Print Network’s measures of weeklies fell by 10 per issue in 2006, to 55 pages from 65 in 2005. That is a drop of 15% compared to 2005. But 34 more weeklies were measured during 2006, possibly bringing down the average.

Size of Hispanic Newspapers- Pages per Issue
2005 v. 2006
Design Your Own Chart
Source: Kirk Whisler & Latino Print Network, Carlsbad, CA http://www.latinoprintnetwork.com

The size of the dailies’ print network measures shrank as well, going to 102 pages per issue in 2006 compared to 125 in 2005, for a drop of 18%. Unlike the weeklies, however, the dailies did not see an influx of new (and presumably thinner) publications. In fact, the number of dailies shrank by four.1

Broadcast

Although the sale of Univision caused tumult in 2007, there were no big changes in news investment in Hispanic broadcast. Univision’s new CEO, Joe Uva, talked about turning more to the Web as a source of audience – and content for the television company – but there were no real signs of shifting resources.

And following a year of sharp cuts at Telemundo, including the phasing out of local newscasts in six major markets – San Jose, Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio, Denver and Dallas – in favor of one central newscast, there was no major announcement of cuts.

Footnotes

1. All staffing figures from the Latino Print Network: State of Hispanic Print, 2006