If news reporting organizations lose credibility, will people stop tuning in? This is a question news organizations should be asking themselves in light of the new Pew Research Center report. It's also a question public relations professionals should ponder when planning their next PR campaign.
Over the past decade, several major national newspapers have seen double-digit drops in the percentage of consumers who give them a 3 or 4 rating on a 4-point scale. This includes the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and USA Today. The better news is that 57 percent of daily local newspaper readers still give their publication high grades.
For cable TV, the major national outlets like CNN, MSNBC and Fox news have also witnessed steep declines in credibility. Most have seen their credibility ratings change from 75 percent to around 50 percent. The local TV news stations maintain the highest credibility ratings with 65 percent of consumers saying they believe they are seeing unbiased and truthful reporting.
Major TV networks and one popular news program, 60 Minutes, have fared a little better on this front. Out of all the TV networks, ABC has the highest ranking with a 59 percent credibility factor and 64 percent of viewers say the information reported on 60 Minutes is fair and accurate. These numbers are higher than NPR which stands at 52 percent.
Researchers also noted that viewer ratings are closely associated with political leanings. For examples, 60 Minutes is tops for Democrats with 81 percent giving that show good ratings. 60 Minutes is also favored by 60 percent of Independents. Republicans are mostly likely to give their local TV news stations top grades (68 percent) and they also appreciate Fox News (67 percent).
While these figures give political ad buyers a great road map for purchasing media time in the next few months, the longer range picture is one PR firms should be studying.
By Kathy Crosett
[Source: Further Decline in Credibility Ratings for Most News Organizations. People-press.org. 16 Aug. 2012. Web. 31 Aug. 2012]