The final question on the questionnaire asked, "How do you think readers perceive you? What public perceptions of you and media in general would you like to change?" Several participants responded that the public lumps all media together; these answers have been described in Section IV. Other answers included: 1
- TV/Web A: "The Internet is new, and I think at this point the public has lower expectations. Personally, I would like for our station to improve the public perception of TV journalism as it relates to objectivity."
- Newspaper/Web A: "Journalists rank only above lawyers and used car salesmen in many public opinion polls. The public seeks the message voraciously but often doesn't like or want to know what the messenger had to do to get that message. I'm not saying sleazy things don't go on and the media is now leaning more toward sensationalism than can be justified. But overall, I think the individuals within the industry still have an incredible amount of integrity."
- Web C: "There is still a lot of suspicion and hatred of journalists, especially on the part of the right. A lot of people seem to think we're getting rich off of the news. Believe me, we're not."
- Newspaper A: "I would like to change the public perception of the media in general as an undisciplined and arrogant pack of hounds. Most reporters are hard-working professionals with high standards of integrity."
- Newspaper B: "My main concern is that the public rarely sees the media, and newspapers specifically, as working in the public interest. I believe that if readers thought journalists were asking questions and writing stories on their behalf, as opposed to the people in power, they would have a whole different attitude about 'the media.'"
- TV A: "We better wake up. We are not listening to research. Research is clear faster, hotter, more graphic intense [newscasts are] not growing ratings. Viewers want context, but consultants want flash. Primetime news shows get solid ratings. They are long form with context, perspective and quality writing. We need to get back to the basics, otherwise, we will lose more and more viewers to other media."
- TV B: "I think a majority of them believe we're arrogant, slanted liberally, agenda oriented. I think some think we don't want the truth, that we're only after stuff to support our preconceived or biased notions."