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The mainstream media (MSM) will publish 11% fewer articles in 2009 than in 2008; that’s 27% fewer articles than were published in 2006.

Let’s say that again: one out of every 4 articles published by the MSM in 2006 will go unpublished this year.

How did I come to this conclusion? Well, using the same approach as my previous posts I came up with the number of articles featuring the words ‘the’, ‘of’ and ‘and’ published by the MSM in Q1 2009.

I then checked every year since 2004 to see if Q1 articles represent 25% of the annual output (they do, but more on this later).

I then multiplied Q1 2009 coverage by 4 and got the result.

The following graph shows the expected decline in raw numbers, followed by a graph showing the year-over-year percent decline.

(Raw total of articles in MSM featuring 'the', 'of' and 'and' 2004 - 2009)

(Raw total of articles in MSM featuring 'the', 'of' and 'and' 2004 - 2009)

(Percent year-over-year change in number of MSM articles featuring 'the', 'of' and 'and', 2004 - 2009)

(Percent year-over-year change in number of MSM articles featuring 'the', 'of' and 'and', 2004 - 2009)

I decided to check traditional technology trade media as well. The result? Somewhat unexpectedly we can expect tech trades to publish about 5% more articles this year than last year – though still about 28% fewer articles than in 2006. (I didn’t do the Q1 comparison for tech trades).

The following shows raw numbers and percent change for tech trades.

(Raw total of articles in tech trade media featuring 'the', 'of' and 'and' 2004 - 2009)

(Raw total of articles in tech trade media featuring 'the', 'of' and 'and' 2004 - 2009)

(Percent year-over-year change in number of articles in tech trade media featuring 'the', 'of' and 'and', 2004 - 2009)

(Percent year-over-year change in number of articles in tech trade media featuring 'the', 'of' and 'and', 2004 - 2009)

One final thought. I said earlier that Q1 coverage in MSM historically represents 25% of total annual output. This isn’t precisely true. Over the past 2 years Q1 coverage represented 26% of the annual total. Not a huge difference I know, but it does seem to indicate declining rates of articles being published within the course of the past two years. I would expect this pattern to hold in 2009 as well, meaning the numbers are likely to be slightly worse than my projection.

Tomorrow I’ll touch on some of the limitations I see with this analysis.

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Yesterday I posted some stats and graphs indicating traditional tech media are publishing 32% fewer articles today than in 2006.  I took the same methodology (see last post for detail) and applied it to major national US and business publications (as grouped by Factiva in their source list). The result:

Today there are about 18% fewer articles being published in the mainstream media then in 2006.

  • Articles with the word ‘the’ declined 18.2%, from a high of 1792011 in 2006 to a low of 1465854 in 2008.
  • Articles with the word ‘of’ declined 17.9% from a high of 1742164 in 2006 to a low of 1430187 in 2008.
  • Articles with the word ‘and’ declined 17.7% from a high of 1723305 in 2006 to a low of 1417414 in 2008

Here are the graphs:

(Raw total of articles featuring 'the', 'of' and 'and' 2004 - 2008)

(Raw total of articles featuring 'the', 'of' and 'and' 2004 - 2008)

(Percent year-over-year change in number of articles featuring 'the', 'of' and 'and', 2004 - 2008)

(Percent year-over-year change in number of articles featuring 'the', 'of' and 'and', 2004 - 2008)

Let me know what you think. Tomorrow I’ll make some projections for 2009.

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