23 March 2008

State of the News Media 2008

PEJ has published their State of the News Media covering 2007. There is more good news this year, although not on the economic front. I thought this, from the Journalist Survey, was very positive:

Journalists are ready — even eager — to embrace new technologies. They think a range of new digital activities, from blogs to citizen media, are good for journalism. They even think, by 2 to 1, that splitting their time across multiple platforms is a positive change rather than a problem that is taking time from their reporting or spreading them thin. These are all attitudes hard to imagine a few years ago.
There were also two interesting tidbits that caught my eye in the Public Attitudes section. The first was in the table on Persistent Criticisms of the Press. Notice that a majority believed in 1985 that news organizations get their facts straight, but now a majority believe that stories are often inaccurate.


July 1985 Feb 1999 Sep 2001 Nov 2001 July 2002 July 2003 June 2005 July 2007
News Organizations...
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Get facts straight
Stories often Inaccurate

55
34
37
58
35
57
46
45
35
56
36
56
36
56
39
53

Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, “Views of Press Values and Performance: 1985-2007,” August 9, 2007

I would suggest that journalists read Andrew Heyward: The Era of Omniscience is Over, take it to heart, and then implement changes to remove the expository epistemological system in journalism that lectures us in the language of 8th graders.

The other interesting tidbit is the reversal of the Republicans-Democrats gap as a percentage that have a favorable view of a watchdog press depending on the party affiliation of the President:

Percent Saying Press Criticism Does More Good than Harm


1985 1989 1994 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007

Reagan/ Bush Sr.
Clinton
George W. Bush

%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Total

67
68
66
56
58
60

54

60
58
Republicans
65
63
72
60
65
51
43
44
44
Democrats
71
72
62
52
57
65
56
72
71
Independents
64
72
66
59
55
64
65
65
60
R-D Gap
-6
-9
+10
+8
+8
-14
-13
-28
-27

Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, “Views of Press Values and Performance: 1985-2007,” August 9, 2007.

It's another great report on journalism. Thanks, PEJ!

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