Good news journalists! According to the Pew Research Center’s biannual media attitudes survey, the public is slightly more okay with your existence than in the past—at least in some respects.
They still, by and large, think you focus too much on unimportant stories, are barely ever accurate, try to cover up your mistakes, favor one side over the other and take your cues from the world’s powerful. And it’s just getting worse.
Ratings of the press have become much more negative since Pew Research first began measuring attitudes in 1985. Most of the press ratings tested in this survey are at or near all-time lows reached in 2011. In many cases, the decline in ratings has been dramatic.
But! When it comes to protecting democracy, journalists are up 6 points over just a few years ago, edging closer to the majority mark (35 percent still think journalists hurt democracy). A whopping 68 percent think journalists keep leaders from doing things they shouldn’t, a 10-point change from the last survey.
In another noteworthy change, it appears those of you who’ve managed to shift roles in our information-rich environment from just reporters to something more like curators are fairing well among the public, too. For instance, 54 percent of those surveyed felt that journalists are now more important than ever because you help make sense of all that information floating around.