Americans Say Traditional Journalism ‘Out of Touch,’ Rely on Internet Instead

Americans Say Traditional Journalism ‘Out of Touch,’ Rely on Internet Instead

Fully two-thirds of Americans – 67% – say traditional journalism is out of touch with what they want from news, and for nearly half of Americans the internet is now the top source of news, according to a new We Media/Zogby Interactive online survey.

Though most Americans (70%) think journalism is important to the quality of life in their communities, two-thirds (64%) are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism in their communities.

Republicans (79%) and political independents (75%) are most likely to feel disenchanted with conventional journalism, but the survey found that 50% of Democrats also expressed similar concerns.

Those who identify themselves as “very conservative” were among the most dissatisfied, with 89% who view traditional journalism as out of touch.

Websites were alo cited as more trustworthy than more traditional media sources – nearly one-third (32%) said internet sites are their most trusted source for news and information, followed by newspapers (22%), television (21%) and radio (15%).

Among other major findings of the study:

  • Nearly half of respondents (48%) said their primary source of news and information is the internet, compared with 40% who said so a year ago.
  • Younger adults were most likely to name the internet as their top source:
    • 55% of those age 18-29 say they get most of their news and information online, compared with 35% of those age 65 and older.
    • Seniors (65+) are the only age group to favor a primary news source other than the internet, with 38% of these seniors who said they get most of their news from television.
  • Overall, 29% said television is their main source of news, while fewer said they turn to radio (11%) and newspapers (10%) for most of their news and information.
  • Just 7% of those age 18-29 said they get most of their news from newspapers, while more than twice as many (17%) of those age 65+ list newspapers as their top source of news and information.
  • Websites are regarded as a more important source of news and information than traditional media outlets:
    • 86% of Americans said websites were an important source of news, with more than half (56%) viewing these sites as very important.
    • Most also view television (77%), radio (74%), and newspapers (70%) as important sources of news, although fewer say the same about blogs (38%).

some other findings:

  • 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%) say the internet has had a positive impact on the overall quality of journalism.
  • 69% say media companies are becoming too large and powerful to allow for competition, while 17% say they are the right size to adequately compete.

About the study: The Zogby Interactive survey of 1,979 adults nationwide was conducted Feb. 20-21, 2008. This is the second year of the survey. See the complete methodological statement on this survey.

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