June 17, 2013
Amid the rise of Internet social media, the confidence that Americans feel in newspapers continues to fall — to 23 percent this year compared with 28 percent in 2011, a new Gallup Poll says. The percentage of Americans reporting “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers has been trending downward since its high of 51 percent in 1979. Americans today have better access to news than ever before, but the struggles of the news industry seem to be affecting the public’s confidence in it.
In the June survey, newspapers were near the bottom of a list of 16 societal institutions in how they are regarded by the public. Television news — a broad category that ranges from local news to cable news channels — was tied with newspapers, with 23 percent of Americans expressing confidence in it. But in the public’s esteem this year television news and newspapers still managed to beat big business, organized labor, Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), and Congress, the Gallup Poll found.
The low confidence that Americans feel for news institutions varies somewhat by age, education and gender. Among those ages 18 to 64, twenty percent reported having high confidence in television news, compared with thirty percent of seniors. Thirty percent of young adults expressed a great deal of confidence in newspapers, the highest of any age group. Americans with higher levels of education were found to have less confidence in TV news, but Americans of all educational backgrounds expressed low confidence in newspapers. — Greg Beaubien