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United States

United States

Population: 331 million
Internet penetration: 90%

A year of sweeping job losses that some compare to the 2008 financial crisis has left US newsrooms hoping that heightened attention in a presidential election year will staunch the industry-wide bleeding. Meanwhile, publishers have been wrestling with how generative AI could help drive greater efficiency in the newsroom without damaging trust. New roles are being created to manage this process.

The US news industry shed jobs at a precipitous rate over the last year, with total losses of nearly 2,700 positions in 2023 – the grimmest year since the pandemic – followed by a wave of high-profile layoffs in early 2024. The cuts have hit iconic brands across the industry, from broadcast giants NBC News and ABC News, to Time Magazine and National Geographic, to major NPR affiliates like New England Public Radio, New York Public Radio, and Southern California Public Radio.

Newspapers continue to be hit the hardest. The Los Angeles Times laid off 115 journalists to begin 2024, more than one-fifth of its newsroom. That followed a year in which the Washington Post cut more than 250 positions through a combination of layoffs and buyouts. Many regional papers, like the Dallas Morning News and the San Diego Union Tribune, saw major newsroom cuts in 2023.

Among digital-first venues, the non-profit Texas Tribune announced its first-ever layoffs in August, losing 10% of its newsroom. Vox Media and Vice Media both saw two waves of staff cuts in 2023; the latter then laid off ‘hundreds’ more in February 2024 and announced it would shutter its news site, Business Insider, owned by Axel Springer, likewise announced an 8% staff cut to begin the new year. The revered music journalism site Pitchfork, launched in 1996, was restructured by parent Condé Nast and folded into GQ magazine.

Meanwhile, a report from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University found 2.5 local newspapers closed every week in 2023; that leaves more than half of all counties in the US with ‘limited access to reliable news and information’, the authors found. According to the report, by the end of 2024, the US will have lost a third of its newspapers since 2005.1

To help mitigate these trends, a coalition of 22 national funders and donors launched Press Forward in 2023. The national initiative will invest more than $500m over five years to strengthen local newsrooms, address inequalities facing underserved communities and news-desert areas, and support policies focused on access to news and information, among other goals. Public officials at the state and national levels have also introduced bills focused on supporting and sustaining local news outlets and journalists.

Generative AI is becoming an important tool for newsrooms. Some news organisations drew negative attention for their AI use, including Sports Illustrated, which published AI-generated articles accompanied with bylines and headshots of fake writers, according to reporting by Futurism. Earlier, the website CNET published more than 70 articles written using AI tools, some of which contained mistakes and were inadequately labelled.2

The New York Times has begun building a team to explore strategies for using AI in the newsroom, hiring Quartz co-founder Zach Seward as the editorial director of AI initiatives. A social media post from Seward referenced plans to hire a machine-learning engineer, a software engineer, a designer, and editors for the initiative. The Times also drew attention for its lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement. The suit alleges that the companies’ chatbots were trained with millions of articles published by the Times – and now represent sources of competition.3

The challenges facing X (formerly Twitter) continue to mount, with a study from Edison Research finding that the platform experienced a 30% usage drop from 2023–24. More than a year after taking over as CEO, Elon Musk has eliminated the platform’s blue-check verification system and outsourced content moderators, and many staff members have been fired, laid off, or have exited, including the head of Trust and Safety. In July, Musk tweeted that the company had seen a 50% drop in advertising revenue. In July, Facebook launched Threads, a text-based version of Instagram that drew 10 million users in its first seven hours and surpassed 100 million within days but has struggled to maintain that early momentum.

Cable news outlets have seen major shakeups over the past year, including the September retirement of Rupert Murdoch from the Fox and News Corp boards and the appointment of his son Lachlan to run the global media empire. New CNN chief executive Mark Thompson announced in early 2024 that the network would overhaul its morning programming, including transitioning flagship show CNN This Morning from a chat-show format to straight news coverage, amid viewership declines.

Joy Jenkins and Lucas Graves
University of Missouri/University of Wisconsin-Madison

Changing media

Online news continues as the top source for Americans, with access via social media a big part of that. Television news has seen an uptick this year (+3pp) and will potentially increase further as presidential election coverage ramps up.

Pay for online news


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Trust in news overall



Trust in news (32%) has remained stable in the US since 2023, though it remains at the bottom half of surveyed countries. Among the brands included in our survey, local TV news and local newspapers remain most trusted (62% and 61% respectively) with trust levels for other brands affected by the highly polarised US market. Cable news channels Fox News and CNN continue to have some of the highest levels of distrust.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 66.59

Measure of press freedom from NGO Reporters Without Borders based on expert assessment. More at


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