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A.M. Class: News outlets lose credibility

If you’re in the a.m. class, post your comments here.

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  1. Ross Benes
    September 26, 2011 at 11:54 am

    A major reason news organizations have lost credibility is due to cable news stations. This was hinted at in class when Sue said, networks like Fox News and MSNBC ruin it for everyone. Just as people have a hard time differentiating between the editorial section and news section of a newspaper, they also have trouble differentiating between sources with a slant and sources who try to be neutral. For better or worse, many people get the majority of their news from cable news stations such as Fox News and MSNBC. This has led people to assume that all media members have a slant in their stories, regardless of the nature of the story. This has cost media outlets their credibility.

    When news outlets lose credibility they become, and compete with, mere entertainment. Without credibility reporters aren’t taken seriously. Even when covering a sensitive topic, reporters are now more likely to gain recognition from an unfortunate sound bite shown on the Daily Show than from their reporting skills. What’s even worse is that entertainment shows such as the Daily Show are often now more respected than actual hard news programs. People now take comedy more seriously than reporting. As a rule I would add – report everything to your boss so that you don’t end up paying for the private education of lawyers’ children.

  2. Kayla Stauffer
    September 26, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I think that one of the reasons that news organizations’ credibility has dipped so low is because there is a lot of pressure to release news almost immediately after it happens.
    When there is this kind of pressure (largely due to the Internet), writers make mistakes that would have otherwise been corrected and this causes viewers to lose faith in that particular news outlet.

    When this happens and news outlets lose their credibility, people will often stop reading that particular paper or listening to that particular news station. Lost credibility equates to a lost audience.

    Another rule to help journalists stay accurate is that they should read their stories backward. When you do this, words often stick out more individually, and you are less likely to race over an incorrectly spelled word or name. Instead of seeing the piece as a whole, you see it word-by-word, and this often helps me fix a handful of errors.

  3. bethany schmidt
    September 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    One of the most apparent reasons why credibility of news organizations has dipped so low is because many news outlets seem to be showing more and more bias in their reporting. Not all news organizations show bias, in fact, most of them are quite impartial in their reporting. But, those few organizations that pick sides on the issues are ruining the credibility that the other media sources have (or had). Because those few, biased media organizations have chosen to be more opinionated, audiences are assuming that all news outlets are choosing sides and those media viewers are, in turn, choosing to trust news organizations less.

    When the news outlets loose their credibility, audiences will choose to find new news sources to get their information from or they may just loose all interest in refocusing their news sights entirely.

    My ninth rule to tack on with Craig Silverman’s is “don’t trust your gut.” That is the opposite of what we are usually told to do in tricky situations, but in the world of journalism, trusting your gut and getting it wrong is not acceptable. It is better to lose a couple of seconds on double checking a name’s spelling than lose a couple of hours filling your retraction.

  4. Abby Schipporeit
    September 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    I think the media has lost credibility due to a few things. The first thing being our society’s shift into wanting/needing everything immediately. We are a very impatient society and due to advances in technology, we just expect to have news now. This sense of immediacy doesn’t leave much time for reporters to check the facts.
    Another reason for the loss of credibility is simply the increased number of news outlets. The cable news networks tend to be either liberal or conservative. In my opinion there seems to be a lot more one-sided news sources than two-sided news sources.
    The last reason I believe has caused a loss of credibility is bad grammar! The place I notice mistakes the most is not in newspapers, but on TV news sites. Personally, it really upsets me when I see misspelled words, and that to me discredits the news source.

    The rules I would add to Craig Silverman’s list would be to have a passion for reporting accurate news. This kind of summarizes all of the rules already listed. I believe it is important to follow reporting guidelines, but you have to have some kind of passion or fire inside you that makes you want to do a good and accurate job.

  5. Michelle Durham
    September 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    News organizations credibility has dipped so low because of the demand to release the news at a faster pace. Instead of “babying” a story, news outlets are so determined to beat their competitors that they neglected to re-read their work for misspelled words and improper grammar/punctuation. Along with trying to release a story to soon, reporters forget to double-check their facts that lead to a risk of the accuracy in their story being untrue.

    When a news outlet loses credibility, they’ll lose their readers and become known as an unreliable source for readers to obtain their news. Instead of being taken seriously by readers/viewers, they will be looked at as a joke; like an entertainment piece. Instead of being looked at as a credible source, most will look to their news for a good laugh or even a “scavenger hunt” to find what’s wrong with the story.

    A rule I would add to Silvermen’s list would be not to try to up-sell a story with “better” information. What I mean by that is to not make a fact sound more intense as they are to make a story sound better. The main priority is to deliver the story and keep facts straight, not to add something that isn’t accurate just to make your story sound better. That’s a good way to lose your credibility.

  6. Kelly O'Malley
    September 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I think news organizations lose credibility because of the 24-hour news cycle and people wanting news as it happens. Breaking news is hard to cover because it’s very difficult to get everything accurate in the heat of the moment.

    It is like baking a cake, a cake taste good when it has the right ingredients in it. But it will not taste good if some of the ingredients are missing or if the wrong ingredients are put into the cake.

    Breaking news acts the same way as baking a cake; it takes time to make it a good story. If some of the information is missing or if the information is inaccurate, it will not be a good story. The audience will have a bad taste in their mouth and the news organization will lose credibility.

    I think news organizations need to take a step back when it comes to breaking news and let the story develop before actually breaking the story. They still might not get everything right at first, but at least they will be more accurate than another news organization that breaks the story right away.

    I think another rule to add should be to have a different journalist do the exact same story. See if there are any differences with the original journalist’s story. If there are differences, see why that is and fix the necessary changes.

  7. Brianna F.
    September 27, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    I think that credibility has decreased because the more that people see errors and corrections being constantly published, the less likely they are to read something and take it to be factual. Furthermore, after reading about the growing prevalence of social networking websites, I think that also affects the credibility of news organizations. If readers seek the majority of their information via social networking websites, they might question the validity of news presented elsewhere.

    When news outlets lose credibility, people do not take the publication or the staff seriously. Readership may decrease or people may not believe anything that they read from that particular news outlet. Loss of credibility can be detrimental to a publication because it affects how people perceive that organization. It also affects how likely readers are to become regular subscribers and recommend it to others.

    The rule that I would add to Silverman’s list would be to simply ask questions. When in doubt, it is important to ask questions about details that are unclear. This can include correct spellings of names, correct birthdays, specific dates, and other important details. By specifically asking the source about significant details, many errors could be prevented.

  8. Cristina Woodworth
    September 27, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I honestly do not think the media have become less credible. Newspapers have always had grammar errors and television news stations have always seemed to be politically biased. There are articles about how people accused radio news broadcasts of being biased in their news coverage back in the 1930s and ’40s. These are obviously problems, it’s not like I believe news outlets are perfect, I just think it is people’s perceptions of credibility and trustworthiness that have changed, not the actual credibility of news sources.
    I think it is sort of just a popular trend to complain about how biased and not credible the media are-kind of like how everybody always says they hate Congress in surveys. The survey showed this when it said how people regard the media in general as not credible but they believe the news sources that they personally use to be very credible. This just seems contradictory. Of course they will think the sources they use are credible. It’s probably because those sources are at least slightly biased so the way they report stories reinforces the opinions of the reader. It’s natural to want to read things that you agree with.
    I think the change in percentages of how credible people think the media are comes from the ample number of newspapers and television news stations that now exist. I think the greater number of news sources increases people’s perceptions of bias and discreditability. In the past, there were not as many newspapers or news networks to pick from. Therefore, there was no way to compare whether or not a certain source was biased or credible. Now though, there are many sources which makes it more obvious when different media report stories with different slants or facts.
    When news outlets lose their credibility in the eyes of the public, they will lose some of their readers. People will search for other sources that they think are more credible.
    A 9th rule I would add on would be to be aware of you biases so that you can keep them from interfering with objective reporting.

  9. Gabbi Silke
    September 27, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    News organizations credibility has dipped so low because of the pressure people in our society have on them to produce news at the very second it happens. Like Kelly said, it’s hard to be in the heat of the moment and be able to produce accurate stories the second they happen.
    When news outlets lose credibility they lose people’s trust; they lose readers and viewers whether it’s a newspaper or a TV station. Once someone notices an error in a story they remember that the next time they go to read that news outlet. It’s hard to forget something like that and not expect to look for more the next time.
    A rule I would add on would be that if you have doubts, check it again. It’s better to check a few times and make sure you are accurate than to click submit and hope a reader doesn’t find your mistake.

  10. A. Kumari
    September 27, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    I think news credibility has diminished so quickly because the speed of the industry has increased exponentially. With increased technology and abilities to publish news so quickly there is also a greater margin for error. Additionally, because news can be published almost immediately, readers expect to get it both quickly and accurately and they’re increasingly disappointed if one or both of these doesn’t happen.

    When news outlets lose credibility they lose readers. It’s a simply answer, but I think it’s the truth because we live in an age where there are so many news choices that if one source lets you down you can easily find a new one. If these errors are consistent within the industry as a whole there will be a constant migration of people until readers become too frustrated that they quit seeking out news sources at all.

    Another accuracy tip I would add to Silverman’s list is, spell check doesn’t cut it. For me, sometimes I rely on the genius of my computer and it lets me down. Instead, I should become a better self-editor so I can quickly weed out the mistakes my computer overlooks.

  11. Matt Palu
    September 28, 2011 at 12:55 am

    While the credibility of news organizations is currently quite low, it’s worth pointing out that journalists have always tended to be seen as deceitful or at least disingenuous. Take a look at the American history of journalism; it started out largely as anti-English propaganda, clearly the furthest thing from biased. Later in the more pivotal days of print newspaper Yellow Journalism reigned. Sensationalism was rampant, and selling was the only thing that mattered. Though journalism is far different from the days of Hearst and Pulitzer, I do sense an innate level of distrust towards the media. None of this is helped when you have two of the biggest cable networks in the world openly championing one political party over the other. Thus, society’s innate level of uncertainty regarding news outlets is compounded by those unscrupulous news outlets, who are powered by ratings and readership.

    In print losing credibility is the worse thing that can be lost. If readers know it not to be true they have a very hard returning. This is because they expect certain levels of credibility to correspond to the media platform or outlet they get it on. Radically partisan cable television shows still draw very strong viewers due largely to the fact that those viewers know what they’re going to see when they tune in. The same can be said for tabloid magazines. But in newspapers people expect to read the truth, and when they don’t get that they won’t continue reading.

    One rule I would add would be to smash your ego and opinion in your reporting. A reporter or writer may have done their due diligence and have all of the facts and information correct in that story. However, the way that information is presented can, at times, draw two completely different stories. When you are reporting straight news do not editorialize. If a person reads your story and they can sense some sort of bias from you, it will turn them off to the product. The same goes for an interview. Write the facts. Don’t rearrange them or dress them up.

  12. September 28, 2011 at 1:36 am

    What I find most interesting about the poll is that most people think of a cable news outlet like Fox News or CNN when they think of news organizations. If you combine this with the statistic stating that 66 percent of people distrust the “other guys” and 62 percent only trust their news source, the article seems much more political. Perhaps the statistics don’t point only to a distrust in media but more so a polarization of people’s political opinions. It’s a sort of paranoid opinion that everyone is wrong except for your news station.

    However, when news outlets lose credibility they lose respect and any chance they have of making readers take them seriously. This naturally affects the amount of readers they have and in the end how much money the news outlet makes.

    The rule I would add to Silverman’s list is check the dumb stuff. When writing an article it is easy to get caught up in the long name of an organization or triple check a speaker’s title. Meanwhile, some of the smaller things can get pushed aside inadvertently. I once misspelled the name of one of my best friend’s towns in a news article about Clarence Thomas. I got so caught up in making sure I got the Justice’s titles right I forgot about the little dumb stuff.

  13. September 28, 2011 at 3:55 am

    I think that the credibility of news organizations has dropped because of the need to release information immediately. Instead of waiting for all of the facts to come in, or the story to fully develop, reporters are forced to publish stories as quickly as possible to oblige to their readers desires. When a journalist must compose a story quickly, there is little time to verify the information or edit thoroughly. Because of the factors involved in this current high-pace journalism, accuracy in news is lost frequently.

    Readers notice when there are errors in a story and, from that moment on, will continue to second-guess every piece of news they receive from that source. As a news organization, in order to be effective, they must be an accurate source of surveillance for their respective demographic. When credibility is lost, even the slightest omission of information will be noticed. The surveillance provided by the news outlet will be questioned by the readers, or perhaps will begin to lose readership.

    One rule I would add is, “What side are you on?” As a journalist, I believe it is very important to be neutral in all coverage of news. If a journalist can answer what side of the situation they are on, they will most likely be biased in their coverage of the situation. It is hard to remove oneself from their position, but I think being aware of it is a great start. Once they are aware, they can begin to change.

  14. Chloe Gibson
    September 28, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I think that credibility has dipped so low because young journalists (maybe older ones too) are letting people influence them. Like mentioned in the first article, it said that powerful people and organizations are influencing quite a bit of the news. Also, I think when simple errors are published over and over again readers get frustrated and essentially give up on that particular news outlet.

    When news outlets lose their credibility their readers will most likely no longer trust them to deliver accurate news. This could make the reader of that newspaper or the person watching that news station not want to buy or watch that outlets product anymore.

    The rule that I would add to Silverman’s list is, “If you say you’re going to check into it and call back, actually do it.” Like the error you talked about in class yesterday. A man who was being accused of child molestation was pictured on the front of a newspaper, only the man pictured wasn’t the man being charged. A woman called to let the paper know that and the journalist said oh ya I’ll check into and get back to you. The journalist never got back to her. I think small things like that can not only make an article sloppy, but the journalist as a person.

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