Dewey Defeats Truman

by Dan Ward

 

Those who have proclaimed victory of the Internet over newspapers and other “mainstream media” sources might want to take a look at a survey commissioned by Craig Newmark’s craigconnects.

As reported by the Poynter Institute, the survey finds that when it comes to accurately reporting on politics and elections, newspapers, cable news and network news are seen as most credible.  (Twenty-two percent said newspapers are “very credible,” followed by cable news and network news at 21 percent apiece.)  While 22 percent is nothing to write headlines about, it’s much better than the numbers for online sources.  (Internet news sites came in at 13 percent, followed by blogs and social media at 6 percent.)

In what might also be seen as a surprise, 34 percent of respondents felt that social media sites have had a negative effect on the quality of news reporting, twice as many as those who feel social media has had a positive effect.

And for those who love to crow about Internet sources that are the first to break news, you are in the vast minority if you view that as most important when choosing news sources.  When asked which characteristics are most important when choosing news sources while an election is happening, only 6 percent answered “first to report story,” while 49 percent chose “trustworthy,” and 23 percent chose “in-depth analysis.”

While it would be nice to see this study go beyond the election cycle and look at perceptions of sources for all news, this has to be seen as a good sign for those of us who still see a role for newspapers and other mainstream media … sources that have traditionally valued credibility and quality over the rush to publish.

The question is whether newspapers will get the hint, or whether they will continue to lose the qualities people see as most important in the mad rush to compete for online clicks.

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