Israel Hayom newspaper.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Journalism and the media are seen as less important and less reliable than in the past, according a new study released Sunday by the University of Haifa.
The survey was conducted by Prof. Jonathan Cohen and Dr. Oren Livio of the Department of Communication Studies ahead of the second annual Haifa Communications Conference, set to take place on January 29th.
According to the findings, only 11% of the Israeli public would want their children to become journalists, compared to 25% in 2007.
The survey was conducted among 405 adult respondents via an Internet questionnaire, which asked to rate numerous questions on a scale of one to seven (1 - do not agree, 7 - completely agree).
The survey found that in 2014, 76% of the public believed journalism is an important profession, with a rating of 5.57. However, this marks a decline from 2007, when 90% of the public responded that journalism was an important profession (rating of 6.2).
Furthermore, in 2007, 60% of the public gave the media the highest possible rating (7) with regard to its standing; while in 2014, only 32% of the public gave the media the highest score.
“Journalism is still perceived as important, but there has been a clear decline in appraising its importance,” the survey authors said of the findings.
There was also a decline noted in the level of trust or confidence in the media. In 2014, only 26% of the public placed trust in reporters (rating of 3.57) compared to the data from 2007 in which 40% of the public were confident in reporters (rating of 3.86).
Furthermore, of the respondents who had attended an event that was reported on by the media, only 39% felt that the coverage accurately and to a high degree described what had happened.
“People who were at an event saw that the media did not make things up or lie, but also did not depict an accurate picture, or even close to what really happened,” said Prof. Cohen.
According to Cohen, the public’s attitudes and belief in the media and in journalists would receive a rating of “average minus.”
Despite the decline in trust, the public’s perception regarding the “respectability” of the journalism profession remains unchanged throughout the years. In 2014, 71% of the public believes that journalism is a respectable profession – a rating of 5.15 compared to a rating of 5.3 in 2007. Only 11% of the public believe the profession is not respectable.
In addition, there was even an increase with regard to the public’s perception of whether journalists are “fair” or “decent,” with an average of 4.8 in 2014, compared to 4.6 in 2007.
The findings indicated that 73% of the public believes that “special talents” are required to enter the journalism profession and 70% believe that an education and special skillset are required to enter the profession.
The survey also found that the public believes the most respectable form of the media is television (rating of 5.2), followed by radio (5.1), national media (4.9), sectarian press (4.4), bloggers (3.9), and local newspapers (3.8).