Blogs And The Future Of Journalism

A new WE Media/Zogby Interactive poll surveyed members of the public and the media for their views on contemporary journalism. The results offer an interesting perspective on both the regard for which the press is held and the variance of that regard by each group:

Statement Public Media
Traditional journalism is out of touch with what Americans want from their news. 65% 61%
Dissatisfied with the quality of American journalism today. 72% 55%
Bloggers are important to the future of American journalism. 55% 86%

It’s encouraging to see that majorities of both groups consider the press out of touch. Although it does raise an obvious question: If the media professionals feel that way, why aren’t they doing something about it?

A divergence occurs over the level of satisfaction, with the public overwhelming unsatisfied and the media straddling the fence. This is also a curious finding because it suggests that the media folks are fairly satisfied despite their belief that the press overall is out of touch.

The surprising response is the media’s acknowledgement of the role bloggers will play going forward. With virtual unanimity they are conceding the impact of what happens to be their biggest threat. And while just a little over half of the public agrees, a much larger percentage (76%) view the Internet as having had a positive impact on the overall quality of journalism. This seems to be a recognition of the watchdog effect that the Internet has. Both the people and the press know that stories that are inaccurate or incomplete are going to be challenged. And issues that don’t get carried in mainstream outlets are going to be hammered on in new media channels until they get the attention they deserve.

That is the power of citizen journalism and as long as we protect it from the encroachment of Big Media, it will be there to keep them honest.