WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Journalists Held in Low Esteem

Aug 20, 2013

The Shop Talk panelists discuss research that found an increasing number of people feel journalists don’t contribute much to society’s well-being.

The study was done by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.  It ranked journalists eighth out of ten professions, with only businessmen and lawyers finishing lower. 

Only 28% of people felt reporters contribute much to society, as opposed to 38% in a similar survey done in 2009.

Panelist Jasmine Garcia said the perception might be due in part to the negative stories that make the news.  Panelist Lisa Kernek said another factor could be that reporting is an invasive job that requires journalists to get in people’s faces.

Neither is especially surprised by the study’s findings.

Panelist Mike Murray is a bit surprised that journalists rank so low, though he added the media itself often gives negative portrayals of reporters.  Panelist Rich Egger questioned who the public perceives to be a journalist – he said many people might think the shouting heads on Fox and MSNBC are journalists and that could contribute to the low ranking.

The study also found that women’s opinion of the press dropped. Kernek thinks that might be because so many stories are covered by men who interview other men. She said it is possible women are not seeing themselves represented in news reporting.