Most Americans Think Citizen Media Is Vital To Future Of Journalism

Feb 17th, 2007 | By | Category: Citizen Media, General

A majority of Americans (55%) said bloggers are important to the future of American journalism and 74% said citizen journalism will play a vital role, according to a new We Media – Zogby Interactive poll.

Highlights:

  • 72% said they were dissatisfied with the quality of American journalism today.
  • 61% said they believed traditional journalism is out of touch with what Americans want from their news.
  • Most respondents (53%) also said the rise of free Internet-based media pose the greatest opportunity to the future of professional journalism and three in four (76%) said the Internet has had a positive impact on the overall quality of journalism.
  • Nearly nine out of 10 media insiders (86%) said they believe bloggers will play an important part in journalism‚Äôs future.

“We are now seeing mainstream acceptance of what we call the Power of Us Рthe value, credibility, and vital expression of citizen and collaborative media,” said Dale Peskin, a managing director of iFOCOS, the organization that conducts the annual We Media conference. “We’ve arrived at a tipping point. A new definition of democratic media is emerging in our society.”

Peskin said that, until recently, many traditional news enterprises have been skeptical about We Media. “They were either fearful or dismissive of our 2003 research forecasting and documenting the change in the media ecosystem,” he said. “Now the Zogby poll provides additional evidence that “We Media” is an essential component – perhaps THE essential component – for the agenda for news and information into the future.”

“The research documents the widespread recognition that control and influence on how we know what we know is shifting to a vastly more distributed network of empowered individuals and organizations,” said Andrew Nachison, co-founder of iFOCOS. “This obviously will have a big impact on how media organizations evolve and conduct business, but it’s really about how we all discover, create, share and apply information, and that’s important to all industries, to entrepreneurs, to non-profits, to governments, to individuals and to society as a whole. We are all part of the ecosystem.”

The Zogby Interactive survey of 5,384 adults nationwide was conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2007, and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.4 percentage points.
Dissatisfaction with today’s news reportage is greater among those nationwide online respondents who identified themselves as conservative – 88% said they were unhappy with journalism, while 95% of “very conservative” respondents said the quality of journalism today is not what it should be.

Among those respondents identifying themselves as liberal, 51% said they are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism. Dissatisfaction levels were also highest among older respondents – 78% of those age 65 and older said they are dissatisfied. Most respondents (65%) also said they believe traditional journalism is out of touch with what Americans want from their news, with the highest levels of dissatisfaction with traditional journalism among those age 70 and older (74%), the very conservative (95%), and libertarians (89%).

Despite concerns about its quality, 72% of those in the national survey said journalism is important to their community. More respondents (81%) said Web sites are important as a source of news, although television ranked nearly as high (78%), followed by radio (73%). Newspapers and magazines trailed – 69% said newspapers and 38% said magazines were important. While blogs were rated as important sources of news by 30% of the online respondents, they were not considered as good a news source as the backyard fence – 39% said their friends and neighbors are an important source of information.

However, a majority of the nationwide online respondents said Internet social networking sites and blogging will play in important role in the future of journalism. But they added that trustworthiness will be important to the future of the industry – 90% said trust will be key.

Liberal and progressive respondents were more likely to say newspapers are their most trusted source than those with more conservative ideological mindsets. But radio is the most trusted source for 28% of those who describe themselves as “very conservative”, compared with just 9% of liberal respondents.

More online respondents nationwide said the Internet was their top source of news and information (40%), followed by television (32%), newspapers (12%) and radio (12%). The youngest adults in the poll, those age 18-24, were far more likely to say they mostly get news from Internet sites—58% said the Internet is their main destination for news, with television coming in second at 18%. Fewer than one in 10 in this age group said they get the majority of their news from newspapers.

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