Newspaper publishing down 34% due to impacts of Covid-19

Newspaper publishing down 34% due to impacts of Covid-19

  • 34% drop in newspaper articles published in Ireland following Covid-19 restrictions introduced March 12th
  • Drop most severe in regional or local titles of 39%
  • National daily newspapers dropped by an average of 25%
  • Sundays down by 24.5%

Media intelligence firm Truehawk Media recorded a 34% drop in the number of articles published in domestic Irish newspapers across national daily, Sunday, and regional or local categories when comparing similar weekly periods in 2020 versus 2019.


Media monitoring Irish media news monitoring

The media monitoring and analysis company tracks all articles printed in newspaper titles. Truehawk Media also monitors news and current affairs across radio, TV, online news, blogs, forums, social media platforms, and other print media such as magazines and journals.

While the overall reduction of articles published in the periods examined since Covid-19 restrictions were sanctioned was 34% compared to the previous year, with national daily and Sunday titles down by roughly a quarter, the greatest drops are evident in regional press. That deficit is increasing as regional or local publishing was down 47% last week (May 18th– 24th) when compared to a similar week in 2019 (May 20th – 26th).


Press monitoring news media Ireland Irish newspapers

In order to assess the direct impact of Covid-19 a number of control weeks were assessed including the week beginning February 10th 2020, just following the recent general election. Based on the number of articles printed, the volume of newspaper articles published is down this year by 11.5% within the large set of titles analysed here. However, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated that decline.

“The cancellation or postponement of so many sports and cultural events has had an obvious impact across all publications,” said Truehawk Media CEO Derek Finnegan. “We have also seen a number of local regional titles pause, consolidate or cease production which has led to a 7% drop in the number of publications printed in that category.”

“This analysis highlights the worrying impact that the coronavirus has had on Irish media and specifically in relation to newspapers,” says Shannon Rushe, Sales & Marketing Director. “While we have seen online news media and digital versions of Irish print titles increase their output in general this year, our media analysis reveals the obvious challenge that lies ahead for press media. Less pages indicates less advertising copy overall and we are concerned that the variety and independence of our newspaper industry may be threatened if sufficient funding models are not revived or created. Print journalists, print media professionals, and the newspapers they work for play a vital role in our lives and communities which has been highlighted even more during this crisis.”

About the analysis:

Total newspaper print articles analysed = 274,845. (2020 = 111,390; 2019 = 163,455).

Domestic titles covered:
• National daily titles: Irish Times, Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Irish Daily Star, The Herald, Evening Echo
• National Sunday titles: Sunday Independent, The Business Post (Sunday Business Post), Sunday World
• Regional/local titles = 110-131 titles (all key regional titles covered, number of titles analysed per week varies during period due to closures, consolidation of titles, or pauses in production)

Two comparative four-week periods were examined in this analysis: from mid-March to early April each year and a second four-week period from the end of April to mid-May.

Analysis Period 1
2019 WB 11/03 2019 WB 18/03 2019 WB 25/03 2019 WB 01/04
2020 WB 09/03 2020 WB 16/03 2020 WB 23/03 2020 WB 30/03
Analysis Period 2
2019 WB 29/04 2019 WB 06/05 2019 WB 13/05 2019 WB 20/05
2020 WB 27/04 2020 WB 04/05 2020 WB 11/05 2020 WB 18/05