DONALD TRUMP calls it the “failing” New York Times in his tweets, but his presidency has breathed new life into the newspaper and other mainstream media outlets. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal have all received boosts in subscriptions and page views; cable news networks, such as CNN and the Fox News Channel, are getting huge increases in viewers at a time when most other channels are losing them; and even the long-suffering stocks of newspaper companies are rallying. Since the election shares in the New York Times Co have risen by 42%, outperforming even the mighty Goldman Sachs.

Why the boost? The unprecedented nature of political events has kept American eyeballs glued to pages and screens. The pace of change, especially since the election, compels Mr Trump’s fans and foes alike to stay abreast of developments. Many do so using Twitter (see article). But many others seem to want the kind of analysis that established groups provide. Mr Trump’s bashing of certain outlets also may have encouraged some to subscribe or watch in defiance.

The Trump bump has been most pronounced at the New York Times. It managed to sign up more than half a million digital subscribers last year—including 276,000 in the fourth quarter alone, mostly after the election. It now has 3m subscribers in total, including about 1.7m digital-only subscriptions. By one measure traffic to its site is nearly a third higher than a year ago. A never-ending flow of big stories helps. “In the evening you put the non-Trump pages to bed so you can focus on the late-breaking Trump news,” says Mark Thompson, its chief executive.

The Washington Post, which has also produced juicy scoops in recent months, does not disclose subscriber numbers under the ownership of Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive. But speaking at a conference on February 14th in California, Marty Baron, its editor, said subscriptions are growing “at a very rapid rate right now”. The Wall Street Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch, also saw a substantial boost in digital subscribers, to nearly 1.1m by the end of 2016, an increase of about 250,000 over a year earlier.

One way or another, people simply cannot get enough Trump. The three major cable news networks—Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN—have enjoyed the three biggest increases in viewership of all American cable channels in 2017, according to information from Nielsen, a research firm. Each network enjoyed an increase of 40% or more in the six weeks to February 12th (see chart). Fox News is the most-watched cable channel of them all, according to Nielsen data supplied by MoffettNathanson, a research firm. The network is averaging 3.1m viewers during prime time as of January 2nd; its softer approach to Mr Trump and his antics makes it a destination for his supporters.

The surge arrives at a challenging time for traditional media. In television, most cable channels are suffering declining viewership, which in turn puts pressure on advertising sales. The situation for newspapers is more dire. The market in North America has been in structural decline since the millennium, and lost $30bn in advertising revenue, a drop of 60%, in the decade to 2015. Last year print ads, still far more lucrative than digital ads, continued to decline sharply at major newspapers. The New York Times experienced a 16% drop in print advertising last year, and like virtually all American newspapers has gone through multiple rounds of staff reductions. The Wall Street Journal endured a 21% drop in advertising revenue in mid-2016, leading to yet more cost-cutting and voluntary redundancies.

The recent Trump-led media resurgence is ironic, for the decline of newspapers probably benefited Mr Trump. People have increasingly looked to free, less reliable sources of information on the internet, including social media such as Twitter and Facebook, where Mr Trump is in his element. He proved adept at campaigning amid a confusing mire of fact, fiction and demagoguery.

How long can the Trump bump last? In a call last month Mr Thompson told analysts that it will endure as long as the administration continues “to be creating news and controversy”. Judging as a former journalist himself, he said, he suspected that would take many months, and “possibly years”. Media moguls certainly hope so.