Jun 16, 2022 - Economy

The U.S. public thinks journalists aren't doing a good job

Share of <span style="background:#bcad6d; padding:3px 5px;color:white;">American public</span> versus <span style="background:#6533ff; padding:3px 5px;color:white;">journalists</span> who say news organizations do a good job at <span style="border-bottom: 2px solid #000;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>
Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Nicki Camberg/Axios Visuals

There is a massive gap between how the U.S. public and journalists rate the performance of news organizations, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

Why it matters: While 65% of the 11,889 surveyed journalists said news outlets do a "very" or "somewhat" good job at reporting the news accurately, only 35% of the 9,388 polled adults agreed.

By the numbers: 41% of the public said the media does a "good" job covering the most important stories of the day, compared to 67% of journalists who said the same.

  • Both the public and journalists were largely critical of news industry's ability to manage or correct misinformation, with only 25% adults and 43% journalists saying it has done a good job.
  • The public and journalists were also quite critical of the industry's ability to give a voice to those underrepresented in society.

The big picture: Generally, reporters know that the public does not trust media organizations, according to the results of the surveys.

  • 42% of journalists said they believe the public has "little" or "no" trust in information from news organizations, while 44% said they think the public has "some" trust.
  • That assessment was fairly close to the levels of trust recorded by Pew's survey of U.S. adults. 44% of them said they have "little" or "no" trust in the media and 27% said they had "some."
  • However, 85% of surveyed journalists said they think that the media organization they work for is trusted by the public.

The bottom line: The results suggest that the news industry as a whole has a major credibility problem in the eyes of the public, which likely reflects the public's historically low trust in media.

Methodology: Figures in this story comes from two 2022 surveys from the Pew Research Center. One was conducted Feb. 16 to March 17 among 11,889 U.S. journalists and has a margin of error of ±1 percentage points. The other was conducted Feb. 7-13 among 9,388 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of ±1.6 percentage points.

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