Journalists Believe News Going in Wrong Direction
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Last week Pew released an in depth survey of national and local print and TV reporters, editors, and producers. Among the findings, Pew describes that journalists at national news organizations have become considerably more pessimistic about the state of their profession since 2004. By roughly two-to-one (62%-32%), more national journalists say that journalism is going in the wrong direction rather than the right direction.
In terms of what journalists, editors, and producers see as problems, there has been an increased focus on the financial pressures of doing business. As Pew describes, more than twice as many national and local journalists now cite a financial issue as the most important problem facing journalism than cite any other concern. The problems that were mentioned frequently in 1999 and 2004 -- particularly concerns over the quality of coverage and the loss of credibility with the public -- are cited far less frequently today.
Not surprisingly, as Pew finds, the financial pressures manifest themselves in a perceived value gap between top management and journalists. According to Pew, most executives and senior editors at national news organizations (55%) believe that the reporters at their outlets share "a great deal" of their professional values. By contrast, just 30% of reporters and less-senior editors say that owners and top editors at their organizations share a great deal of their professional values.
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