From left to right: Ms. Mengtian Chen and Dr. Lee Becker working on Kettering report.

Kettering Foundation Publishes Report Of Cox Center Researchers On Public Assessments Of Media Journalists

The Kettering Foundation, based in Dayton, Ohio, has published a report based on research conducted in the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia that documents public dissatisfaction with the media and with journalists.

The report, titled “Public Trust in Journalism and Media: Analysis of Data from 1970 to 2015,” shows that public opinion surveys conducted by a variety of survey organizations and using a variety of different questions all lead to the same conclusion.

“It hardly matters what question is asked,” the researchers wrote. “The actual performance of those in journalism and of their organizations is viewed critically by citizens.”

The Kettering Foundation published the report as part of its Working Paper series in early May.

The authors of the report are Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox International Center, and Mengtian Chen, a graduate student working in the Cox Center. The Kettering Foundation supported the work that led to the report.

The researchers attempted to find explanations for the trends but concluded that there is little evidence that can be explained by market forces or by the declining resources the media organizations devote to news gathering.

The report concludes that it remains unclear what can be done—if anything—to address this loss of confidence in the media and journalists and recommends exploration of alternatives to traditional journalism and traditional media organizations as a means of delivering news to citizens.

The Kettering Foundation is a nonprofit operating foundation rooted in the American tradition of cooperative research. Kettering’s primary research question is, what does it take to make democracy work as it should?

Kettering’s research is conducted from the perspective of citizens and focuses on what people can do collectively to address problems affecting their lives, their communities, and their nation.

The Cox International Center is a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

The report can be downloaded from the Kettering Foundation site.