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How Do We Fix It?

Changing Journalism: Boosting Trust in the News Media. Joy Mayer

Only four-in-ten Americans say they have a lot of trust in the news media. That's a big problem for our democracy, especially in this volatile presidential election year. While journalists are supposed to tell the truth and get the story right, just 35% of right-of-center voters have some trust in what they see on the news.


Democrats and independents are much more likely to trust journalists, but Americans of almost all shades of opinion are skeptical of the journalists, not only questioning the quality of their work but the intentions behind it.


Our guest is Joy Mayer, Director of the non-profit group, Trusting News, which has partnered with many local newsrooms around the country to help journalists earn consumers' trust.


While many reporters, writers and editors are reluctant to discuss their politics, most journalists have liberal or progressive views. "I think it's something we need to talk about more openly," Joy tells us.


In this episode, we look at bias, transparency, and constructive steps that the newsrooms can take to improve their reputation with a broad cross-section of Americans.


We first recorded our interview with Joy in the late summer of 2021. Since then polling shows that the gulf between many journalists and their readers, listeners, and viewers is as wide as ever.


Americans of all political views are switching off the news. Audiences are shrinking for local TV stations, most newspapers and public radio, even as they release podcasts, email newsletters and other newer forms of content. Polling by Pew Research found that more than half of journalists surveyed say every side does not always deserve equal coverage in the news. But three-quarters of the public say journalists should always strive to give all sides equal coverage.


Recommendation: Richard has just finished watching the first two seasons of "Dark Winds", a TV thriller and crime drama set on a Navajo Indian reservation in the southwest. Almost all of the actors and crew are native americans. Richard says: "This series is beautiful, exciting and compelling. The acting is first rate The scenery alone is reason enough to watch it."

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