By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Rebuilding trust in the media

In my latest for the Guardian, I take a look at a new Pew survey that shows media credibility is at an all-time low — and consider a few steps that news organizations might take to counteract public distrust.

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  1. murf

    The sad thing is that I don’t think people want an impartial, objective media that is dedicated to rooting out lies and exposing government malfeasance. As evidenced by the rise of Fox and MSNBC, they want media outlets that reinforce what they already believe rather than challenge them to examine those beliefs in light of objective evidence.

    That respondents trust local news more than either the networks or newspapers is truly frightening. I worked in local news (many moons ago) but am embarrassed to say so given the depths to which the medium has sunk. Local news, even in Boston which was once considered one of the top news markets in the country, is nothing more than a medium for using sleaze, sensationalism, and young women to sell used cars and erectile dysfunction drugs. I will sometimes tune in for the top story, just to make sure the Tip O’Neill tunnel hasn’t yet collapsed, but I can’t recall the last time I was offered anything of any substance or real meaning. I don’t need a live shot from the Franklin Park Zoo telling me about the death of a giraffe. I do need a series on state finances, how they got that way, and how our legislators are going to fix the problem (how’s that for a multi-part grand delusion on my part?).

  2. If you’re a reporter/editor who wants a shot in the morale arm, stop covering a portion of your geographic area that isn’t covered by another newspaper. The years of complaints about your credibility will, with surprising speed, turn into near-begging that you please, please return because all sorts of stuff is happening and nobody knows about it.

  3. Patricia

    Sometimes I wonder whether we’ve already “lost” a generation who will never trust journalists, just as U.S. auto makers have “lost” a generation who will never believe that a car from an American-based company can be as good as one from a company based abroad.

  4. I think a lot of people…roughly 22 million of them…still want serious, non-partisan journalism; they all listen to NPR.

    I do wonder if the myriad array of options to get news have led to the concept of “the media” as being outdated.

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