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P.M. Class: News outlets lose credibility

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  1. Jacob Sorensen
    September 26, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    I believe news organizations credibility has dipped because of all the new social media. It is helpful for breaking news, but also a big liability when something is ‘tweeted’ wrong. There is quite often an unnamed or unidentified source, which is a big no-no in journalism. What kind of writer or reporter are you if you do not have legitimate sources?

    When a news outlet loses credibility, it loses its audience and the trust built in them from its readers, viewers or listeners. If an outlet cannot be trusted, it becomes just another of the ‘muck,’ which many have become today.

    Another rule that could be added to the list is “Keep it simple.” Journalists too often have a solid base for a story, but want to reach out and make an assumption, or throw in a random fact to make a story longer and seem more factual. This often creates confusion. If you don’t have the information, don’t use it. It’s better to be safe rather than sorry. Report the facts you know.

  2. Kyle Cummings
    September 26, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    I think the web in general is the primary reason most people don’t trust news organizations as much anymore. As it was seen in the lecture today, online news statistics were an even lower percentage than that of print. More and more people are turning to online web organizations to get their news. The problem with that, though, is the massive amount of either biased or uninformed individuals writing news on the Web. These online writers significantly lower the credibility of journalists as a whole.

    When news organizations lose credibility people will look elsewhere for their news. In today’s society, one mistake by a news outlet could show a vast decrease in readers, because they can just as easily find their news elsewhere.

    One rule that I would make sure to follow is to get as many sources as possible. Even though one person gives you their take on a story, there could still be a totally different side. Bringing in numerous sources is an easy way to make sure your story stays both accurate and fair.

  3. Zach Tegler
    September 27, 2011 at 10:28 am

    I believe the credibility of the media is decreasing because people acknowledge the news they want to. News comes from so many sources today that people know everything cannot be trusted. As a way to compensate for this distrust, I think people choose only few organizations they consider “credible”–all other organizations become biased, untrustworthy or incorrect. Political bias on the parts of both the media and the consumers is a large part of this problem.

    The “Daily Me,” an idea in which media coverage is specifically tailored to every news consumer, is also contributing. Through the “Daily Me,” people absorb news only from news organizations they want to, and therefore, sometimes only hear the side of the story they want to hear.

    When news organizations lose credibility, the people who depend on them for knowledge of today’s world lose their ability to trust. It is important to be aware of what is happening in the world. If news outlets are not credible, consumers might know the news and at the same time choose not to believe it.

    If I could add a rule to Craig Silverman’s list, it would be directed toward television’s national news organizations–ones people commonly perceive as politically biased. The rule is very simple, yet many–including me–sometimes doubt that news outlets follow it. Sometimes, journalists’ unconscious bias can get in the way, but I think this one guideline could change everything and regain the public’s support: tell the truth rather than your version of it.

  4. Connor Stange
    September 27, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I think news organizations’ credibility has dipped as low as they have because of time more than anything else. It started with one mistake, then turned into another and multiplied until eventually there were too many to keep track of. In addition, everyone on this planet has an opinion. It may be difficult to be unbiased on particular topics, but sometimes that is too difficult when you have a strong opinion on a certain subject.

    When news outlets lose credibility, they lose viewers (or readers) and money. They may also get sued depending on if the mistake is serious. People can’t trust that news outlet any more when something is screwed up. Citizens will talk with other people and try to sway their opinion which is a domino effect of negativity for the news outlet.

    I think Craig Silverman should add that you need to triple-check your story for accuracy. He brings up some great points, but every story needs to be looked at three times after the initial write-up to ensure accuracy. The first time is for content, the second time is for spelling/grammar and the third time is for any final revisions.

  5. Paige Cornwell
    September 27, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    The Pew Research Center study states that 80 percent of those surveyed said powerful people often influence news organizations. Those surveyed also cited the press’s lack of fairness and its unwillingness to admit mistakes as significant negative attitudes. I think these three measures are why the press’s credibility has dipped so low. The study also mentions social networking and how that has affected how readers get their news. Media organizations often want to scoop the other organizations and that can have a detrimental effect if the reporters and editors only care about getting the information out first. Credibility dips if the organizations favor being first more than being accurate.
    When a news outlet loses credibility the entire press is affected. Readers often see the press as one single entity despite the fact that each outlet is different. An outlet’s existence depends on readers trusting it. Without credibility, a news outlet can’t exist.
    One rule I would add for doing accurate journalism would be to start a story assuming nothing. While it is important to do research before a story, often reporters will think they already know the answers to their questions, which can prevent accurate reporting. Journalists should never make assumptions when writing and they shouldn’t assume when reporting, either.

  6. September 28, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Noise makes a big difference. According to the Pew Research Center survey, the most widely recognized news outlets are television news stations and programs. What’s more, public skepticism of media has increased dramatically since the ‘80s, particularly 1985, which was only five years after CNN was founded as the first 24-hour news network. CNN is recognizable and oft-watched and heard because it’s so accessible to regular TV watchers, which most Americans seem to be. But because channels like CNN and now MSNBC and FOX must fill up a constant cycle of news that isn’t always repeating itself, stories can be rushed, including even the nationwide briefs, which are needed in large quantity. But only recently — as in, not since 1985 or even the ‘90s — have 24-hour news channels been commentary-heavy. Mostly, the issue is that people have been brought up to be more distrusting of what they hear rather than what they read. We read textbooks in school, but we don’t watch documentaries. We can highlight the passages we want to go back to in written texts, but we can’t so easily remember what we hear on a broadcast: We don’t have the transcript to go back and read what we just stumbled over listening to. When news outlets lose their credibility, they can lose their audience and their ability to get potential sources to speak to them. Eventually, they lose content-producing capabilities. To avoid losing credibility, I would add one more rule to Silverman’s list: Don’t get caught up in a source. This includes never printing the source’s jargon or only the source’s side of things. They may be telling the truth, but they’ll never get close to telling all of it. Further, readers or listeners should not be expected to think in terms of a source’s — or even the writer’s — buzz words, but rather they should think in terms of what an issue is specifically.

  7. Jordan Kranse
    September 28, 2011 at 12:43 am

    I think that one huge reason that news organizations’ credibility has dipped so low is because of bias in the news, particularly in politics. The Pew Research Center study found that 77 percent of respondents to their survey said that media favor one side. Furthermore, 63 percent said that they would prefer not to have politics included in their news at all. Only about 30 percent of both Democrats and Republicans responded that they like having politics included in the news and both sides agreed that if politics are included, they’d like the reports to be neutral. Several news outlets have lost their credibility because they twist stories to support a certain side. They’ve been known to omit information, give false or altered information and even make plugs for the side they support. Outlets like these have been scoffed at by the public and have affected its view of other media outlets as well. I also think that frequent inaccuracies can ruin a news organization’s credibility. If a news organization makes consistent mistakes in their stories and frequently gives inaccurate information, the public isn’t going to trust that organization anymore and will move to a source that is more accurate.

    When news outlets lose credibility, they lose their audience, their payout and their respect. The loss of these three things can shut an entire news organization down. Not only their loss of credibility affect them, but it will also affect the public and other news organizations. The public will be more skeptical of the news they get from any source and other news organizations will slowly lose their audience.

    I think that one rule I would add to Silverman’s list is to maintain balance in all stories. Every time a story includes something from one point of view, it should also include something from a different or opposing point of view. Reports should be well balanced and provide the audience with fair and accurate information. Good balance can prevent news organizations from sounding biased towards a certain side.

  8. Michael Menish
    September 28, 2011 at 12:45 am

    I believe that news organizations credibility has dipped so low because of the overwhelming amount of opinion shows on television. In the past television was a major source of news for people where as today we have the Internet. People see these opinion shows on news channels like HLN, CNN and MSNBC and know that it is not unbiased reporting and don’t know the difference between actual news reporting and opinion shows. People today still don’t like those news organizations even on the Internet because of the past use of television.
    When news outlets lose credibility they lose readership, then funding. If news sources can’t be trusted people will not want to continue to follow them. If one news outlet loses credibitly it hurts others in that outlet. People wonder who to trust or if they can trust anyone at all.
    A rule I think would help journalist to stay accurate is always over check your work. Allow others to check your work, it can never hurt to have the input of others. This makes sure you have fewer errors and your story is neat, orderly and easy to follow.

  9. Adam Kroft
    September 28, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Adam Kroft
    Journalism 201: News outlets lose credibility

    I believe news credibility has dropped low for a few simple reasons. If I was a reader for a news article, and I saw the significant facts were wrong, I would lose faith in the writer. Nobody wants to read an article that has errors with its facts. I don’t believe someone may lose credibility for spelling a person’s name wrong in the story. The misspelling may hurt that person, but the name is probably not the main subject of the story. It’s about the facts the article needs to have checked and confirmed with multiple sources.
    When news outlets lose credibility they may lose their audience. If I couldn’t trust my media source to have credibility, I wouldn’t give them my time. The news outlet may lose some of their income, whether that’s advertisers or subscribers. The worst thing that could happen to a news outlet is losing its credibility. To earn something back has to be built up over a long period of time. If the credibility were lost I wouldn’t know where to start to earn it back. The best thing a news outlet can do is admitting their mistake and if necessary, apologize to the readers.
    A rule I would add to Silverman’s list is, never be satisfied with your sources. If a source seems legitimate, re-check the source multiple times. A small slip can cause future problems for that writer or news outlet. If I wanted to check my sources thoroughly, I would speak to the original source and get the news I needed. Then research what the source said through the Internet, then discuss with another source and confirm what the original source said. It’s about keeping your facts straight, and avoiding any false information.

  10. Marc Zakrzewski
    September 28, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I think a big reason why news organizations are losing their credibility is because we have entered the era of 24 hour cable news networks. There is not enough credible news to fill up 24 hours so the networks add editorials that. These editorials become politically leaning and Fox News becomes the station for conservatives and MSNBC becomes the station for liberals. People who adopt these beliefs flock towards whichever station they agree with. This fuels more editorials and the views stray farther away from the center. This leads to less factual news and more opinion which leads to less credibility. When this happens, the networks become entertainment and no longer news.

    I think a rule to add to the list would be leave your personal beliefs behind. If you are writing a story that you may not agree with, try not to show that in your story. If it becomes to difficult to keep your opinions out of news, then maybe you should let another journalist write that story. News should be factual. Editorials can be opinions.

  11. Frannie Sprouls
    September 28, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    One of the reasons why the credibility of news organizations has dipped so low is because we have need to have news right away. News organizations are expected to be telling us every update of every major event as soon as they know. There are many 24-hour news organizations: CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, etc. Even newspapers are expected to have new information up on their website, if not in the paper the next day. When everyone is in such a rush to know the news and to get it out, mistakes are made. These mistakes cause news organizations to lose their credibility. Once credibility is lost, people begin to doubt everything that is reported, even if the facts are correct. The media has become the way it is because of the people. There are many expectations to live up to and the people expect the news to be objective. But you have news organizations like MSNBC and FOX that have a bias on their opinion shows, so people assume the entire channel is biased to the right or to the left. With news outlets losing credibility, who knows what will happen next. Even when most newspapers are objective, the people might not think so.

    One rule I would add to Silverman’s list is leave your beliefs and opinion at the door, no matter how difficult it may be. The public is not looking for your opinion; if they are, they should head on over to the editorial section. News is about presenting the facts to the public, not twisting the facts so they fit your opinion and beliefs. Keeping an open mind is what will help you find stories and will help you expand the reporting in your article.

  12. September 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Readers usually will remember the mistakes that editors and reporters made in news stories. As different kinds of news are published every day, year by year, there must have some mistakes and credibility problems. Some negative news will change the credibility of news organizations. In addition, people all have their own opinions. This makes some news become controversial.

    When news outlets lose credibility, they will lose their audiences. Nobody wants to read the news from an organization that they believe is hypocritical. Then audience may treat other organizations more strictly.

    One rule I want to add to help journalists stay accurate is to report a news fact without personal opinions, and write it from audiences’ position. Journalists need to consider how audiences feel about. Try to report the fact and avoid making the audiences feel like you are hiding something bad or your mistakes.

  13. September 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Emily Deck
    Sept. 26, 2011

    Why do you think news organizations credibility has dipped so low?
    News credibility has dipped lower in the past several years because of the popular political opinion shows that are on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. People identify news with these networks, and they receive the most ratings from these political commentary shows that are often one-sided and not fair. People think these news organizations favor one side. People also feel that the news focuses on the sensational news of people’s private lives like affairs.

    What happens when news outlets lose credibility?
    I think when the news begins to lose its credibility then people begin to not trust it. If people do not trust the news, they will probably turn to news with their political opinion because they feel that this news is telling more of the truth. When people turn only to these outlets for news, a very polar nation is created. Then, we have a divided nation that cannot work together.

    What one rule to help journalists stay accurate would you add to Silverman’s list?
    The writer should always keep in mind that he not only represents himself but also the paper, his city and his state. Don’t make journalism a joke.

  14. September 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I think one of the main reasons that the public think news organizations are inaccurate is due to timeliness. Now more than ever, news outlets have to update right away and have an article up for people to read once an event is over. They want that readership and they know they can get it if they can get the news to them fast. A lot of times news organizations will just post a small paragraph so they have some information up. Then they will add to it later as more information comes in. People also do seem to trust TV news outlets more so than they do newspapers just because they can go on air whenever. Newspapers have no room for errors since it only comes out two times a day mostly. They can put out a retraction, but that’s not until the next issue comes out.
    When news outlets lose credibility people will still read articles from them but they may not believe it completely. They won’t want to subscribe to them or watch their broadcast. They don’t seem like a trustworthy source anymore. I think that’s why newspapers are trying to seem more like they are for the community. Ever since Facebook and Twitter everything has changed. News outlets will ask for readers’ opinions. They will ask them to send in photos and see what they think. They want it to be more personal now and they can’t do that when they lose credibility.
    Silverman’s list of rules pretty much has it covered. I don’t do a lot of reporting but when I do I like to talk directly with the subject. It can help with accuracy since you are right there and not over the phone. Also, they can kind of help you write the story instead of you having to keep calling someone. I always try to interview in-person. It just gives me a better story because it makes it seem like I care to the person. Not just another reporter calling on the phone.

  15. Griffin Gale
    September 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I think a lot of the reason that the credibility of news organizations has hit an all-time low is twofold. One is that there are more “national” news organizations than ever before, the proliferation of cable TV and web-based news has led to more choices than ever for consumers. When you combine that with the 24/7 information culture that we live in it puts more pressure on reporters and news outlets to not be left behind, perhaps leading to less time for fact checking and editing. The second factor is that due to the increased competition on a national level news organizations increasingly are searching for a niche that they can call their own. This desire to find and hold on to their segment of the market has led to more commentary and distinct editorial stances than we may have seen in the past. This may lead to distrust among people who may not share the opinions taken by a news organization. This is shown by the need to define the party affiliation of various respondents to surveys.
    When news outlets lose their credibility it hurts them financially as viewers/readers turn away from that particular source. With lower ratings/readership they can’t demand the same advertising rates that they may have commanded in the past. The flip side of this is that in many cases a news organization may only alienate a specific portion of their audience while consolidating their hold on the opposite demographic which allows them a solid niche to continue to function in.
    I can’t think of a specific rule that should be added to the list Mr. Silverman provided but the emphasis on fact checking is vital, so many corrections are simple things such as a misspelled name that could be easily avoided. If you ensure that all the little things are correct you’re less apt to make the big mistake. If you’re the journalist that repeatedly shows up on the corrections page for little mistakes it chips away at your credibility, if you can’t get the name spelled correctly who knows what else is wrong?

  16. Kelsey Baker
    September 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Because of Web 2.0 and the ability for anyone to post anything on the internet, journalists must be careful about what they choose to use for a source. I believe that’s a primary reason credibility is down. It’s easy to get the truth confused when there’s so many different versions of a story.
    If news outlets continue to lose their credibility, people are going to stop looking to them for their news. It results in less readership and less success. It’s a fast path to falling apart and not having a news organization anymore.
    One rule I would add is a rule I learned in my science and industrial tech classes: measure twice, cut once. It’s important to always check your measurements because you can only cut once. It’s important to always check your information because you should only have to print the story once. It would be nice to not have any mistakes. Anything that could be wrong should be checked by either another knowledgeable person or a credible source.

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