Bottom-Line Pressures Now Hurting Coverage, Say Journalists

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

05/24/2004 - Journalists are unhappy with the way things are going in their profession these days. Many give poor grades to the coverage offered by the types of media that serve most Americans: daily newspapers, local TV, network TV news and cable news outlets. In fact, despite recent scandals at the New York Times and USA Today, only national newspapers ­ and the websites of national news organizations ­ receive good performance grades from the journalistic ranks.

Roughly half of journalists at national media outlets (51%), and about as many from local media (46%), believe that journalism is going in the wrong direction, as significant majorities of journalists have come to believe that increased bottom line pressure is "seriously hurting" the quality of news coverage. This is the view of 66% of national news people and 57% of the local journalists questioned in this survey.

Journalists at national news organizations generally take a dimmer view of state of the profession than do local journalists. But both groups express considerably more concern over the deleterious impact of bottom-line pressures than they did in polls taken by the Center in 1995 and 1999. Further, both print and broadcast journalists voice high levels of concern about this problem, as do majorities working at nearly all levels of news organizations.

The notable dissent from this opinion comes from those at the top of national news organizations. Most executives at national news organizations (57%) feel increased business pressures are "mostly just changing the way news organizations do things" rather than seriously undermining quality.

Read the full report Bottom-Line Pressures Now Hurting Coverage, Say Journalists on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site. 

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