American newspapers, magazines and television networks are giving less space and airtime to cover international issues due to major changes in the way people want news.

Released on Monday, a study entitled The State of the News Media 2004 also noted traditional media were steadily losing audiences amid what experts called "an epochal transformation".

The industry is now marked by shrinking newsrooms, reduced news gathering, but a major expansion over the past decade in online news as well as Spanish language media outlets.

Compiled by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, an affiliate of Columbia University, the report's authors described changes in the media "as momentous probably as the invention of the telegraph or television."
  
Study details

About 55 million newspapers are being sold in the United States each day, an 11% drop since 1990.
  
The decline is attributed to dwindling interest among Americans as well as to the public's diminishing trust in the medium in the wake of highly publicised scandals.

Last year's admission by New York Times reporter Jayson Blair that he had made up elements of dozens of stories published by the daily may have been particularly damaging.
  

Are newspapers dying a slow death?

But believability of the daily newspaper has fallen from 80% in 1985 to 59% in 2002, according to the report.
  
As a result, 54% of US residents now read a newspaper during the week and 62% indulge in this activity on Sundays but numbers continue to drop.
  
Tradition media reaction

Faced with reduced circulation, many newspapers have made sharp cutbacks in newsroom staffing and expenditures.

US newspapers had about 2,200 fewer newsroom employees in 2002 than in 1990.
  
And they are trying to adjust their content by delivering softer, more palatable fare to their readers.
  
Lifestyle features have emerged as the leading genre in US newspapers, consuming a total of 23% of available space, the study showed.
  
US governmental affairs came in second with 21% of space allocation, followed by domestic issues given 19% of space and entertainment news and celebrity gossip with 8%.

Bottom of the pile comes foreign affairs and foreign policy.