UTICA, New York -- Two thirds of Americans 67% believe traditional journalism is out of touch with what Americans want from their news, a new We Media/Zogby Interactive poll shows.
The survey also found that while most Americans (70%) think journalism is important to the quality of life in their communities, two thirds (64%) are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism in their communities.
Meanwhile, the online survey documented the shift away from traditional sources of news, such as newspapers and TV, to the Internet most dramatically among so-called digital natives people under 30 years old.
Nearly half of respondents (48%) said their primary source of news and information is the Internet, an increase from 40% who said the same a year ago. Younger adults were most likely to name the Internet as their top source 55% of those age 18 to 29 say they get most of their news and information online, compared to 35% of those age 65 and older. These oldest adults are the only age group to favor a primary news source other than the Internet, with 38% of these seniors who said they get most of their news from television. Overall, 29% said television is their main source of news, while fewer said they turn to radio (11%) and newspapers (10%) for most of their news and information. Just 7% of those age 18 to 29 said they get most of their news from newspapers, while more than twice as many (17%) of those age 65 and older list newspapers as their top source of news and information.
Web sites are regarded as a more important source of news and information than traditional media outlets 86% of Americans said Web sites were an important source of news, with more than half (56%) who view these sites as very important. Most also view television (77%), radio (74%), and newspapers (70%) as important sources of news, although fewer than say the same about blogs (38%).
The Zogby Interactive survey of 1,979 adults nationwide was conducted Feb. 20-21, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points. The survey results will be featured at this weeks fourth-annual We Media Forum and Festival in Miami, hosted by the University of Miami School of Communication and organized and produced by iFOCOS, a Reston, Va.-based media think tank (www.ifocos.org). This is the second year of the survey.
For the second year in a row we have documented a crisis in American journalism that is far more serious than the industry's business challenges or maybe a consequence of them, said Andrew Nachison, co-founder of iFOCOS. Americans recognize the value of journalism for their communities, and they are unsatisfied with what they see. While the U.S. news industry sheds expenses and frets about its future, Americans are dismayed by its present. Meanwhile, we see clearly the generational shift of digital natives from traditional to online news so the challenge for traditional news companies is complex. They need to invest in new products and services and they have. But theyve also got to invest in quality, influence and impact. They need to invest in journalism that makes a difference in people's lives. That's a moral and leadership challenge and a business opportunity for whoever can meet it.
The survey finds the Internet not only outweighs television, radio, and newspapers as the most frequently used and important source for news and information, but Web sites were also cited as more trustworthy than more traditional media sources nearly a third (32%) said Internet sites are their most trusted source for news and information, followed by newspapers (22%), television (21%) and radio (15%).
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