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www.donsbach.net. The Public Image of Journalists Wolfgang Donsbach Communication Research Center at Boston University November 12, 2009. Reasons to Deal With the Public Image of Journalists. Allegations of bias and negativity. Commercia-lization. Vanishing identity of journalism.

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slide1

www.donsbach.net

The Public Image of Journalists

Wolfgang Donsbach

Communication Research Center at Boston University

November 12, 2009

slide3

Allegations of bias and negativity

Commercia-lization

Vanishing identity of journalism

Inflation of media

Decreasing trust and esteem

Media scandals

Current stress on journalists‘ public image

slide6

Methodological Details of Our Survey

  • Representative survey of the German population
  • 1,054 citizens of 18 years and older
  • RDD
  • Split-ballot
  • Field time: November 2007 until January 2008
slide7

Low esteem, low trust - and far away from the true professions

Source: Donsbach et al. 2009

slide8

Lowest trust among the younger

Source: Donsbach et al. 2009

slide12

Too little

Too much

Goals and values: Discrepancy between public\'s expectations and evaluations

slide13

Impartiality vs subjectivity

Expect?

Most journalists?

Impartial report

Subjective report

slide15

Protection of privacy vs a scoop

Happens often

Not acceptable

slide17

Independence vs gratification

Acceptable?

Happens?

often

No!

slide20

Hard vs soft news?

Acceptable?

Happens?

often

No!

slide23

Discrepancy expectations/perceptions of behavior in news sitiuations Trust

* p<0.05 ** p<0.01 *** p<0.001

slide24

Discrepancy expectations/perceptions of behavior in news situations Esteem

* p<0.05 ** p<0.01 *** p<0.001

slide26

Who is a journalist?

Donsbach et al. 2009

slide30

Fading Coordinates: Website Traffic – Changes 2006-2007

Large City Newspapers

Mid-size City Dailies

Bloggers

News Aggregators

Joan Shorenstein Center for the Press, Politics, and Public Policy (2007): Creative Destruction: An Exploratory Look at News on the Internet. Cambridge: Harvard University

slide32

The three traditions of journalism

Defines professional journalism

Donsbach 2009

slide33

Public service function: Distinguishing between evidence and gossip

“Journalism is a constellation of practices that have acquired special status within the larger domain of communication through a long history that separated out news-sharing from its origins in interpersonal communication.

Telling others about events in one’s social and physical surroundings is a common everyday activity in human cultures…A main difficulty for sharing intelligence is ascertaining truth, or, put the other way round, distinguishing intelligence from gossip”

News = more than personal communication

Society needs institution that assesses truth and relevance

Barnhurst and Owens (2008: 2557)

slide35

Investment in editorial quality pays off

Sridhar, Thorson & Mantrala 2009

slide36

Basis: Data of ca. 300 papers in the US, Source: Inland Press Association

Revenue losses as a consequence of cutbacks

Sridhar, Thorson & Mantrala 2009

slide37

Quality  Credibility  Financial Success

Basis: Data from 26 Knight-Ridder papers

Size of Market (Logarithm)

Credibility of Newspaper (measured through surveys)

+0,448

-0,046

Stability of Circulation 1995-2000

Meyer, Philip (2004): The Influence Model an Newspaper Business. NRJ 25, No.1, 66-83

slide38

The crisis of journalism as chance

  • Credibility problem of journalism jeopardizes social capital
  • What do do?
  • Actively propagate the function and identity of journalism…
    • …in journalism education
    • …in schools
    • …in public campaigns
  • Re-consider professionalization of journalists
    • best practice in exchange for…
    • …protection from unprofessional influences
  • Journalism as the new knowledge profession (Gregorian)
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