Pew Research Center

Chart shows growth in niche journalists

Chart shows growth in niche journalists

If the mainstream media have shrunk so dramatically, even before the last year, how is it that the overall numbers of journalists in Washington have not?

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The answer is that a new Washington media have evolved, but they are far from the more egalitarian or citizen-based media that advocates of the digital age might imagine. Instead, this new Washington media cohort is one substantially aimed at elites, often organized by industry, by corporate client, or by niche political interest.

It represents the dramatic expansion of a once small niche sector of the Washington press corps—a group that as recently as a decade ago amounted to a couple of Capitol Hill newspapers that covered the nuts and bolts of Congress for staffers and lobbyists and a disparate collection of trade magazines and print newsletters that tracked narrow issues for those working industries ranging from aviation and health care, to energy and construction. For the most part, mainstream media journalists—and much of Washington itself—looked down upon the work of these publications as both boring and peripheral to the “real” challenge of covering Washington politics. The dream of many niche sector journalists was to land work with a major mainstream outlet. 


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