- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 4, 2014

The press appears to be straying from a rigid allegiance to either the Republican or Democratic Party says some uncommon new research. And they’re not very satisfied with the state of their own profession.

“More journalists say they are independents. In 2013, about half of all journalists (50.2 percent) said they were political independents, up about 18 percentage points from 2002,” report David Weaver and Lars Willnat, a pair of political scientists at the Indiana University School of Journalism who managed to plumb the sentiments of more than 1,000 randomly selected American journalists.

“The number of those who identified with the Democratic Party dropped nearly 8 percentage points to 28.1 percent, while the number of journalists closer to the Republican Party decreased from 18 percent to 7.1 percent,” the pair say.

Yes, well. This still gives the Democrats an edge in media land, and could ensure the continuation of a left-leaning bias in news coverage. Or maybe not. But at least the media hordes largely agree on one thing. And only they can correct it.

“Six in 10 journalists (59.7 percent) say that journalism in the United States is going in the wrong direction,” the Indiana pollsters advise.

Ironically, much of the public feels the same way; trust in the press in general is down according to multiple survey in recent years.

And a few more numbers from their findings:

92 percent of full-time journalists in the U.S. say they have at least a bachelor’s degree; 37 percent were journalism majors.

78 percent say that “investigating government claims” is extremely important.

69 percent say “analyzing complex problems” is extremely important.

63 percent say their workplace has “shrunk during the last year.”

58 percent approve the use of unauthorized confidential sources.

46 percent say getting information to the public quickly is extremely important.

40 percent say social media is important to their work.

39 percent say that journalism should concentrate on the “widest possible audience.”

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