Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The dog ate my copy
Many factors hurt newspaper public trust

WASHINGTON, May. 9 (UPI) — Seventy percent of daily U.S. newspaper editors and reporters say factors beyond their control caused public confidence in news media to drop, a survey says.

At the same time, half of the 527 randomly selected journalists surveyed by Northwestern University say they have seen unethical or unprofessional behavior in their newsroom during the past five years.

"Many journalists believe that the recent sins of other newspapers and media taint their own newspapers and contribute to the public's diminished confidence in newspapers generally," said Mary Ellen Shearer, co-author and assistant dean of the Medill School of Journalism.

Journalists surveyed at 218 daily newspapers blamed eroding public trust on national media cases of plagiarism, missteps in TV and online reporting, politician criticism, poor editing of stories and sources who provided false information. [Ed. – Curiously, ‘mind-numbingly blatant bias’ was not a reason cited by the editors and reporters for reader mistrust]

Nearly one-third of the respondents said a source had misled them during the past year. [Ed. – Yeah, those anonymous sources aren’t always sticklers for the truth]

The survey was released Tuesday at a National Press Club meeting in Washington.

Interestingly, other than this UPI blurb in the Washington Times, I can’t find another newspaper or other media outlet reporting on the survey’s findings. Go figure.

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