Results from an Associated Press Managing Editors survey released on Wednesday found newspaper executives felt their abilities to bring a quality product to their readers has been damaged by the industry and economic crises, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
The survey proffered 20 questions to editors and publishers, and received 351 responses, an "unusually strong sampling," the AP reported.
"These are the people out there on the front lines of this battle and they really don't know how it is going to turn out," said Bobbie Jo Buel, the APME's president and executive editor of the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson.
Seventy-one percent of responding editors felt the quality of their newspapers had been "somewhat affected" or "greatly affected" by recent cutbacks, while 20 percent said the cutbacks had little or no effect.
Industry economic woes have caused 65 percent of replying executives to lay off staff and 30 percent had cut wages.
The U.S. newspaper industry employed a total of 407,000 people in 2008, a 20 percent decline from 2005 when 508,000 worked in the newspaper trade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thousands more have been cut so far in 2009, the AP reported.
Free online news content appears to be a thing of the near past, with 28 percent of the respondents planning to charge for online content while 20 percent plan on offering print exclusive content, the survey found.