Boston Globe writer Mark Jurkowitz writes about the mistrustful divide between a writer and their audience – specifically, the media and the public. Journalists, he says, “have a much loftier view of their profession than their audience does.”
“Although most journalists believe quality and values are vital elements of their work and see themselves as providing an important civic function,” Jurkowitz writes, “the reading and viewing public seems to think of journalism as a bottom-line-driven enterprise populated by the ethically challenged.”
Data from recent studies from such groups as the Washington-based Project for Excellence in Journalism, Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and the Radio-Television News Directors Association and Foundation seem to support his assertion.
“With the exception of a burst of national goodwill toward news outlets right after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the survey reveals a broad trend in which public opinion of the press has grown increasingly negative and cynical in the past two decades,” Jurkowitz writes.
“But Jay Rosen, chairman of the Journalism Department at New York University, says the media have failed to inform the public about their own evolving role,” Jurkowitz writes. ” ’The journalist looms larger in the news. . . . It creates suspicions; it creates questions,’ [Rosen] says. ’The press became a player but never bothered to say what it was playing for.’”