People say you shouldn’t trust the government, but their news about the declining health of the newspaper and radio business is hard to dispute.  Read the Census Bureau’s press release, out on Wednesday,  about the tough times hitting the business in 2008, the most recent year for which comprehensive data has been compiled:

Newspaper Publishers Revenues Decline in 2008

Newspaper publishers experienced a single-year decline in total revenue of 8.3 percent — from $47.9 billion in 2007 to $43.9 billion in 2008. This followed a more modest decline of 2.7 percent in 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

A major contributor to the overall loss in revenues for the industry was the decline in advertising space revenue for general newspapers, which dropped 10.2 percent — from $30.9 billion in 2007 to $27.8 billion in 2008. Revenue from newspaper subscriptions remained largely unchanged over the period, from $8.3 billion in 2007 to $8.2 billion in 2008.

These estimates come from the 2008 Service Annual Survey: Information Sector Services. The survey provides national estimates of annual revenue and expenses for industries primarily engaged in producing, processing and distributing data, which range from motion picture production to libraries.

“When we measure information as a commodity, it allows us to track trends in various industries, such as newspaper publishers, motion picture and sound recording industries, and radio and television broadcasting, that produce and distribute information as the source of their revenue,” said Mark Wallace, chief of the Service Sector Statistics Division at the U.S.