Census of Journalists

In 2010, PRNDI carried out the first-ever headcount of all journalists working in U.S. local public radio and television stations.

The stations targeted were those qualified for CPB funding. Journalists were defined as anyone with a primary responsibility for the daily gathering, preparation or presentation of local news content.

The study was sponsored by the CPB to set benchmarks for future tracking of journalism employment in public media. Subsequent headcounts are included in CPB Station Activity Surveys.

Selected data provided here is used by permission of CPB.

2010 Census Results

Public radio and TV stations reported a total of 3222 news professionals.

2010 CPB Staff by Station Type.001

52% of journalists were based at radio stations. 28% were at TV stations. The remainder were employed by joint licensees (radio + TV).

62% of all the journalists were employed full time.

2010 CPB Staff Type x Station Type.001

The census also reported a total of 2769 non-professionals helping in newsrooms.

Journalist Work Status


























 Journalists by Job Title

The 2010 census of journalist found hundreds of different job titles among local news personnel. The researchers sorted the professionals into seven primary roles to get an estimated head count by job title.


Journalists by Primary and Secondary Roles

The 2010 census also categorized local public media journalists according to their primary duties or roles. In some cases the primary duties were different than the job title suggested. For example, some people bearing the title of manager reported primary duties as producing or presenting.

The two most prevalent roles — reporting and producing — were equally prevalent (28%). They were followed by presenting (17%) and managing (14%). Editing and online were not primary duties at most stations.

2010 CPB Primary Roles.001

The census also sought to categorize professional journalists by their secondary duties.

58% of journalists split their time between a primary and secondary role.

2010 CPB Secondary Roles.001


Use of Work Hours on Local Journalism

The 2010 census gathered information on how many hours per week individual journalists were paid to do their primary and secondary roles. A total of 2500 individuals were analyzed, accounting for 73,249 hours of news work in the average week.

Primary duties gobbled up three fourths of the work hours (55,534 per week).

The distribution of these hours varied according to the type of station. For example, reporting was the dominant use of primary duty hours in radio stations, while producing took the most primary work hours in TV stations.


Secondary duties accounted for a quarter of the work hours in local public media newsrooms (17,714 per week). As with primary hours, the difference between station types is notable. For example, in TV, many people do non-news related work as part of their jobs. In radio stations, it appears many people switch from reporting to presenting, or vice versa. They also switch to producing… and editing.


Online Work is bundled with other work

The charts above showing the prevalence of primary and secondary roles reveal very few workers devoted specifically to online news. In 2010, only 2% of local public media journalists had a job doing primarily online work; and only 3% listed online as a secondary role. However, the census asked each journalist to indicate the “news platform” for which they had responsibilities. This revealed, at the time, that two thirds of journalists had some role in online news production or delivery — mostly as an extension of their broadcast duties. Only 3% said they focused solely on online platforms.

2010 CPB Platform Roles Radio.001

Local News Professionals by Gender and Race

One can conclude that local public media have a ways to go before they more accurately reflect the racial and gender make-up of the population.

In 2010, the female percentage of the local news workforce was 45%.


Meanwhile, the percentage of the workforce that is white, non-Hispanic was 80%. (The 2010 U.S. Census showed the white, non-Hispanic population at 64%)