News Media Outlets Have Been Ravaged by the Pandemic

The news media business was shaky before the coronavirus started spreading across the country last month. Since then, the economic downturn that put 30 million Americans out of work has led to pay cuts, layoffs and shutdowns at many news outlets, including weeklies like The Stranger in Seattle, digital empires like Vox Media and Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper chain.

Finding a sizable audience has not been a problem for publishers. Hunger for news in a time of crisis has sent droves of readers to many publications. But with businesses paused or closed — and no longer willing or able to pay for advertisements — a crucial part of the industry’s support system has cracked.

Hard data on job losses is not yet available, but Jed Kolko, the chief economist at Indeed.com, said new listings for jobs in the media and communications sector had fallen 35 percent in the 60 days before April 3, compared with the same period last year. The decline in postings for all jobs was less drastic, at 24 percent, suggesting that the pandemic has had a greater effect on the news media industry than on other businesses, Mr. Kolko added.

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