Americans' Crisis Of Confidence In Objective Journalism Has Implications for Democracy
Journalists are trained to objectively report the facts but amid the country's hyper-partisanship and the politicization of just about everything, basic facts are being attacked as opinion or "fake news" — even by elected officials.
The majority of the U.S. population has some level of distrust for news outlets — how they're funded, how they utilize sources and make corrections, and most importantly, their ability to truthfully and objectively report the news.
Americans are losing faith in journalism amid an ever-evolving media landscape, the rise of partisan and "pay-to-play" news, an unprecedented amount of online misinformation and its rapid dissemination via social media, and easy allegations of "fake news" to dismiss unwanted truths.
Can reporters really remain objective when reality is a matter of political opinion? What does that look like in practice? Who holds them accountable?
How can news organizations be more transparent? What else can be done to boost Americans' confidence in accurate, objective reporting? How does newsroom diversity factor into the equation?
What are the implications for democracy, if Americans no longer trust or rely on what's been considered the nation's "Fourth Estate"?
- Victor Pickard, Ph.D., professor of media policy and political economy and co-director of the Media, Inequality & Change Center at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Democracy without Journalism?: Confronting the Misinformation Society”
- Joy Mayer, director of TrustingNews.org (a project of the American Press Institute and The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute) and adjunct faculty member at The Poynter Institute
- Gina Baleria, Ed.D., assistant professor of journalism, media writing and digital media at Sonoma State University and host of the podcast "News in Context"
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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, November 12.