Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Trusted News Sources

A June Gallup poll includes numbers in trust in newspapers and television news from 2006 through 2009. The findings?
  • Trust in Television News has dropped slowly from 71 percent giving some positive comment to 64 percent in the latest survey.
  • Trust in Newspapers has inched down but well within the margin of error, from 70 percent to 68 percent.
Meaning what?

A Pew Center report (scroll down a bit to "falling favorability" for the table) looks from 1985 to 2007. It's more specific (cable news, broadcast tv news, etc.). Most media outlets drop here, from newspapers to local tv news. The biggest drops are by national newspapers and cable news.

How do we reconcile the two? In part they ask somewhat different questions, in part the Pew breaks TV news down to its various parts such as cable (CNN, Fox, etc.), in part it may even be time (Pew goes from 1985 to 2007, Gallup from 2006 to 2009). Maybe something has changed recently, a frustration with cable TV news now become somewhat more partisan due to a fragmenting audience -- that's a pretty good bet, but it hard to say, and I didn't have time to scour Pew for newer media favorability numbers.

And then there's the question as to whether "believability" or "credibility" or "favorability" matter for news organizations. As a former journalist I used to believe that if I wasn't pissing someone off, I wasn't doing my job right. And I tell my own reporting students that if they want to be loved, be a kindergarten teacher, not a journalist. Those who dislike the news the most are often those who consume it the greatest, a love-hate relationship that at times makes absolutely no sense, at least on the surface.

No comments: