BY JASON STVERAK – Do you not trust your local news reporters? Believe that network anchormen are politically motivated? If you do, you are not alone.
According to a new Gallup poll, a majority of Americans do not have confidence that their media source is reporting the news accurately and objectively.
The poll, which was released last week, found that only 44 percent of Americans have a great deal or fair amount of trust for the media. The majority of Americans, 55 percent, have little or no trust of the journalists who report the news.
Political bias was also examined by Gallup’s surveyors. They found that 60 percent of Americans see a noticeable bias in their news coverage. Dividing which way the news is perceived to be prejudiced, 47 percent says the media is too liberal and 13 percent saying they are too conservative.
The most intriguing aspect of Gallup’s study is that the results are remarkably similar to last year’s findings. Distrust of the media is embedded in the American mind-set and there are no indications that perception will change anytime soon.
In fact, Gallup’s findings echo several other organizations. Pew Research Center for the People and the Press also found that people have a generally negative attitude and distrust of traditional media.
This negative perception of journalism may be a factor into the decline of newspapers and the rise of nonprofit news organizations.
Nonprofit journalism organizations have recently come to the forefront of the journalism debate as an answer to the decline in the traditional media.
Most such organizations specialize in one type of news; investigative news, local news, or state-based reporting, which enables them to become the authority for their target market. By utilizing new media tools, they are bringing a new and innovative approach to journalism.
The recent emergence of nonprofit journalism may lead some to believe that this is a new trend in a struggling industry. However, journalism nonprofits have been operating since the beginning of the newspaper age.
In 1846, five New York newspapers united to share incoming reports from the Mexican-American War. This experiment resulted in the first nonprofit journalism organization. It is known today as the Associated Press.
Nonprofit news outlets are becoming the trusted source for millions of Americans. These groups are producing award-winning investigative reports — breaking news, exposing corruption and reporting stories traditional media newsrooms are missing. Americans are shutting off their televisions and turning on their computers for quality, objective and accurate news.
Nonprofit journalism is playing a vital and necessary role in the news business. The thirst for information by the American public is not diminishing just because Americans no longer trust the mainstream press.
Traditional media outlets will continue to play a role in American living rooms. But as more people begin to distrust their old media source, they will seek new outlets to quench their need to know.
Nonprofit news groups will continue to serve the public need regardless of what the future holds for traditional journalism.
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