Respect for journalists dwindling, study finds

Teachers, doctors, and members of the military still command considerable respect, but reporters just barely edge out lawyers in a Pew Research poll.

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In a comparable 2009 poll, 38 percent of respondents said journalists contribute “a lot” to society. Since then, it’s dropped 10 percentage points, more than any other group, to 28 percent. About 42 percent of respondents said journalists contribute “some” to society, and 27 percent said they contribute nothing at all. Ouch.

Compare that against the most-disliked group, attorneys, whose “contribute a lot” rating dropped from 23 percent to 18 percent. Reporters seem to be catching up.

Journalists’ reputations have taken a particular hit among women: 17 percentage points in Pew’s poll. Among men, their reputation took a much smaller hit of two percentage points. Then again, they had further to fall in the eyes of women, who had much higher regard for journalists four years ago.

Education seems to make little difference when it comes to deteriorating perceptions of journalists. People with college degrees, some college, or only high school all valued journalists about the same as the average of 28 percent. Political party is a more telling factor. About 36 percent of Democrats say journalists contribute “a lot,” while only 20 percent of Republicans do.

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