Photo of journalists shouting questions at Rep. Ron Estes as he heads into the U.S. Capitol in September.
The Washington, D.C., metro area is home to 5% of the country’s newsroom employees. Above, journalists shout questions at Rep. Ron Estes as he heads into the U.S. Capitol in September. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

About a fifth of newsroom employees live in New York, Los Angeles or D.C.New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., are the financial, entertainment and political capitals of the United States – and that may help explain why they are home to a disproportionately large share of the nation’s newsroom employees. About one-in-five newsroom employees (22%) live in these three metro areas, which, by comparison, are home to 13% of all U.S. workers, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data covering the period from 2013 to 2017.

Long known as the media capital of the world, New York, at 12%, has the greatest share of all U.S. newsroom employees – those who work as reporters, editors, photographers and videographers in the newspaper, broadcasting and internet publishing industries. This is more than twice the share living in the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., metro areas, which are each home to 5% of the nation’s newsroom employees.

Among the 10 largest U.S. metro areas by total population, only New York and Washington are home to larger shares of the nation’s newsroom employees than of U.S. workers. Newsroom employees are about twice as likely as workers overall to live in New York (12% vs. 7%) and Washington (5% vs. 2%). Los Angeles has about the same share of each (5% of the nation’s newsroom employees vs. 4% of all U.S. workers).

The remaining seven metro areas – Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia and Houston – each have between 1% and 3% of both newsroom employees and U.S. workers overall. These 10 areas combined account for about 35% of all newsroom employees in the U.S., but about 28% of workers overall.

Newsroom employees more likely than U.S. workers overall to work in the Northeast

Newsroom employees are more likely than all U.S. workers to live in the Northeast. Roughly a quarter (24%) of all newsroom employees work in this region, compared with 18% of workers overall. They are less likely to live in the South: A third of newsroom employees live in the South, compared with 37% of workers overall. About the same share of newsroom employees and all workers live in the West (22% vs. 23%) and Midwest (20% vs. 22%).

Employment at online news outlets is especially concentrated in the Northeast. About four-in-ten newsroom employees who work in internet publishing live in the Northeast (41%) – roughly twice the share of newsroom employees in all industries combined. Online newsroom employees are also more likely to live in the West (28%) than those working in other news industries. By comparison, the regional breakdown of those working in the newspaper and broadcasting industries is similar to that of newsroom employees overall.

Recent decline in newsroom employees has affected all regions roughly equally

Between 2008 and 2018, the number of U.S. newsroom employees dropped by 25%, from 114,000 to 86,000, according to a July Pew Research Center analysis. The decline affected all regions roughly equally, as the distribution of news jobs across the country has remained essentially unchanged over the last decade. During the 2005-2009 period, 33% of newsroom employees lived in the South, followed by 24% in the Northeast, 22% in the West and 21% in the Midwest. New York (11%), Los Angeles (5%) and Washington (4%) also had about the same shares of newsroom employees during this period as in 2013-2017.

Note: The metro area estimates discussed in this report are based on aggregated geocodes that cover the same or similar geographic areas as the core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) of the same name. For additional details, see the methodology.

Elizabeth Grieco  is a former senior writer/editor focusing on journalism research at Pew Research Center.