Zogby: Journalists Out of Touch; Half of Americans Get News from the Web

Another eye-opening survey by Zogby International on the state of journalism.

First, most people think traditional journalism is out of touch with what American’s want from their news, and two-thirds are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism in their communities.

Second, the radical change in how people are getting their news is evident. Forty-eight percent of respondents said the Internet is their primary source for news, up from 40 percent a year ago.

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.

And check this out:

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%).

More on the survey here.

It’s obvious that fundamental changes are taking place in journalism because of the Internet. Hopefully, in coping with the transition to an online news culture, journalists will also find a way to serve readers better, thereby reversing some of those unfavorables cited in Zogby.

Zogby International

Related: An analyst at journalism think tank Poynter quotes a study that offers a possible solution:

The report says newspaper companies will have to venture farther afield and become the indispensable guide to everything that anyone in their local community needs to know to live there. And provide all kinds of solutions for all kinds of needs for virtually every local business.

Oh. And they need to do it online.

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