US journalists raise concerns over news quality

More than half of America’s national journalists feel newspapers, radio and television are submitting too much to the pressure of making a profit.

Journalists say the quality of news coverage is being “seriously hurt”.

The survey, of almost a thousand journalists and executives, conducted jointly by three prestigious research centres, has created concern among many American journalists.

Among some of the conclusions are:  American reporting is increasingly sloppy and filled with errors  the American media is too timid and has not been tough enough on President Bush  almost half of all American journalists often let their ideological views colour their work.

National journalists – over 66 per cent – were the most critical about the trends of American journalism.

But their local counterparts – about 57 per cent – were almost as unhappy.

Despite the recent scandals involving bogus reporting at the New York Times and USA Today, only five per cent of national journalists (and six per cent of local newsmen) see ethics or lack of standards as the biggest problem.

About three quarters say plagiarism may have become a big issue but is no more rampant than it has been in the past.

There is also a generation gap. One in ten journalists under 35 – compared with one third of those over 55 – believe credibility is the industry’s biggest problem.

By Jeffrey Blyth in New York

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