Survey says: more people get their news online, especially journalists

  If almost all journalists go online daily to find news and nearly half of the rest of us do the same, then media professionals should again find themselves with news expertise to offer readers.
  • Many sources such as news wires and press releases, which were once exclusively available to journalists, are now open directly to citizens. However, while journalists collect and process this information for a living, other professionals don’t have all day to wade through everything.  
  • Here may be where the ideas of link journalism and networked link journalism would come into play. As they do their research and investigating, reporters could then compile their reference and source links for readers who would otherwise spend hours clicking around on search engines to find the complete story.
  • With such disclosure, journalists could regain the trust of their “audience”, not only letting the sources speak for themselves, but being helpful at the same time.
  • The recent We Media/Zogby Interactive survey reminded the newspaper industry that it is not only facing a crisis in declining circulation and advertisement revenue, but also in declining credibility and quality.
  • Now that readers can check the facts for themselves by following links in the news they read on the Internet, it is no wonder the poll found that online news has a greater share of the people’s trust, as stated in the 27 February 2008 press release on the Zogby Web site:
The survey finds the Internet not only outweighs television, radio, and newspapers as the most frequently used and important source for news and information, but Web sites were also cited as more trustworthy than more traditional media sources – nearly a third (32%) said Internet sites are their most trusted source for news and information, followed by newspapers (22%), television (21%) and radio (15%).
  Another important reminder that the survey gives the media is that traditional journalism has lost touch with its local reader.
  As more people gain access to international and national news on the Internet, they rely less on their local newspaper or TV station to learn what’s going on “out there”. The study affirms that citizens feel they’re lacking community news about what’s going on “right here.”
  No longer does every paper in the U.S. need a Washington bureau and a Middle East correspondent. Local papers can now redouble their focus and resources on local news and give the people what they really want. Of course, they will want to provide this news on their Web sites.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Although the vast majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism (64%), overall satisfaction with journalism has increased to 35% in this survey from 27% who said the same in 2007.
  • Both traditional and new media are viewed as important for the future of journalism – 87% believe professional journalism has a vital role to play in journalism’s future, although citizen journalism (77%) and blogging (59%) are also seen as significant by most Americans.
  • Very few Americans (1%) consider blogs their most trusted source of news, or their primary source of news (1%).
  • Three in four (75%) believe the Internet has had a positive impact on the overall quality of journalism.
  • 69% believe media companies are becoming too large and powerful to allow for competition, while 17% believe they are the right size to adequately compete.

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