Americans twice as likely to believe news organizations than social media

Associated Press | American Press Institute

No matter how old they are, people surveyed for a new study by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute were “more than twice as likely to express high levels of trust about what they learn directly from a news organization (43 percent say they trust it mostly or completely) as they are to trust what they discovered through social media.”

15 percent of those who get news through social media “say they have high levels of trust in information they get from that means of discovery,” the study says. 13 percent of people under 30 said social was their preferred source for news. 3 percent of all other age groups said the same thing.

The study has lots of other interesting findings about news consumption, among them that people change their behavior depending on what the news is. Read more

Journalists continue to rank low in public trust. (Depositphotos)

Still slip-sliding: Gallup poll ranks journalists low on honesty, ethics

Gallup released a poll on “U.S. Views on Honesty and Ethical Standards in Professions” Monday, and journalists rank pretty low.

The poll, conducted Dec. 5 through 8, used telephone interviews with a random sample of more than 1,000 adults in the country.

Their findings: just 21 percent of the people surveyed ranked newspaper reporters with high or very high honesty and ethical standards. Next came lawyers, tying with 21 percent, followed by TV reporters at 20 percent, then advertisers at a miserable 14 percent. Read more

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Former Toronto Star reporter confesses to plagiarizing Toronto Star article

Here’s a rare one: a journalist at the Toronto Star plagiarized an article that was published in … the Toronto Star.

And the rarities kept coming: after the plagiarism was revealed in a note on the offending piece, the guilty journalist took to his personal blog to fully confess and explain how it happened.

You rarely see someone plagiarize from the publication they’re writing for. And, unfortunately, you rarely see a journalist guilty of plagiarism own up to the offense completely in a personal account.

As I’ve written before, when it comes to plagiarism, the initial reaction within newsrooms is to batten down the hatches and reveal little information. You don’t get many public confessions. The offending party — not to mention newsroom leaders — often refuses to be interviewed. They do, however, often speak to the publication’s public editor/ombudsman, as was the case here as well.

(Disclosure: I was previously a columnist for the Star, but as far as I know I never worked with any of those involved in this incident. I’ve also had discussions with Star editors on behalf of Spundge, where I work, but the two organizations are not currently engaged in any work together.)

Marc Ellison was a summer intern at the Star when the offense occurred. A city editor at the Star confronted him about the similarities of his piece and one by another Star journalist, Daniel Dale. In that private moment, Ellison confessed. He also confessed publicly in his comments for a column by the paper’s public editor. And then he did it again on his own blog, in his own words in a post titled “Professional harikiri”. (Certainly, it must be said, it would have been better if Ellison had confessed his guilt without having been busted.) Read more


24% of the public gives journalists ‘high’ ethics rating

Less than a quarter of the American public gives journalists high marks for honesty and ethics, according to the latest survey from Gallup.

The polling organization asks Americans to rate the honesty and ethical standards of 22 common professions. Journalists fell in the middle of the pack, with 24 percent giving a “high”/”very high” rating, 45 percent “average,” and 30 percent “low”/”very low.” Only 5 percent said “very high.”

Journalists ranked narrowly behind bankers, but ahead of business executives, various politicians, lawyers and salespeople. (The medical field dominates the most-trusted professions: nurses, pharamacists, doctors, dentists.) Read more


Survey: Public prefers news from professional journalists

Reynolds Journalism Institute
The public’s trust in the institution of the press may be fading, and digital platforms have opened the publishing world to anyone with a desire to speak, but it seems professional journalists themselves are not seen as obsolete.

More than 60 percent of U.S. adults say they “prefer news stories produced by professional journalists,” and more than 70 percent agree that “professional journalists play an important role in our society,” according to new survey data from the Reynolds Journalism Institute.

Respondents also disagreed with a social-media-centric model (that most news should come through trusted friends) and disagreed that it doesn’t matter who produces the news.

The first two bars in each chart below refer to mobile device users and non-users. More on them later.

Read more


To build the team, build the trust, with these 8 tips

Take a look at a photo I really admire. It’s a little soft-focus and the framing is a bit off. That’s what makes it perfect. After all, the photographer had only seconds to shoot and only one free camera hand. His other was in that stack.

It was a surprise moment at the end of recent seminar for new managers, one that meant a lot to them. For me, the image is a vivid reminder of how trust and teams grow — under the right conditions. I’ll share the photo’s back story, but first let’s focus on trust.

Great bosses know it’s important to build trust in organizations. But managers can’t simply mandate it, any more than Poynter faculty can command people in our programs to reach out to each other. It must be their own choice.

But leaders can create an atmosphere where the choosing comes easily.

That’s important work with a great payoff. So here are eight tips for building trust among a group of people, whether they’re in a workplace or a workshop:

1. Know each other as people, not just professionals. We’re all so much more than our job titles; we have stories that connect us.

2. Talk about values early and often, but don’t lecture from on high.  Just share yours, listen to others, and walk your talk.

3. When you create rules, connect them to values. When guidelines support beliefs that people share, they’re more likely to respect them.

4. Respond to disappointments, misunderstandings and honest mistakes constructively, not vindictively. Start with an assumption that the other person has positive intentions.

5. Recognize that teams are stronger when people bring diverse skills, experiences and viewpoints. A team of clones is a closed club with limited potential.

6. Respect and encourage thoughtful, civil debate. Give greater credence to those who “show their math” rather than just shooting off their mouths.

7. Provide ongoing and useful feedback so people never wonder where they stand with you or their co-workers. Uncertainty feeds fear. Fear erodes trust.

8. Work — and PLAY — well together. Play is an antidote to tension, a vitamin for creativity, and an opportunity to make a memory.

We try to practice what we teach when bringing people together for leadership training. Our “icebreaker” asks each person to display a photo of the “Real Me” and tell the story behind it. (Most choose images from outside their work lives.) We talk about the values of the best bosses they ever worked for.  We explain our philosophy that “the wisdom’s in the room” — already there among them to share and build upon.

We put a priority on building a seminar group that’s diverse in media, gender, ethnicity, age and geographic background. We change the seating each day so people make new connections. We infuse our teaching with interaction and even goofy play.

We encourage people to respectfully disagree, or, as a Poynter colleague put it, “challenge with passion, not poison.” And we simply suggest that people agree to look out for each other by asking permission before they quote a fellow participant outside the seminar. (Just as I did for this column.)

Without trust in the room, people won’t open up about fears, frustrations, failures, challenges, half-baked ideas or personal ambitions. Fear of criticism or gossip is a candor-killer. I’m happy to report that candor was alive and well among the people in the photo I like so much.

So, what was that picture all about?

Those 20 new managers came to the seminar from across the globe.They spent a little less than a week together. But in those days, in the right environment, they discovered the kind of trust that builds and binds a team. They learned that it’s their role as leaders to cultivate that atmosphere at work for those they supervise, and to make it last for more than one magical week.

The seminar had ended. It was time for people to dash off to airports, back to work and to families. But the affable Ernest Hooper of Poynter’s Tampa Bay Times stopped people in their tracks.

“Huddle up, huddle up, everybody,” he called out with a strong voice and a serious smile. He herded them toward his outstretched hand, toward one more connection.

Scott Simmie of the Toronto Star decided two things: he wanted in on that gesture and he’d capture it, too. In this shot by Kristin Gazlay of the Associated Press, you see Scott, cell phone cam hovering over Ernest, grabbing the image that inspired this column.

Kelly Brown of Denver’s KCNC-TV, described the scene this way:

At first, I thought he meant a group hug – like the classic last scene from Mary Tyler Moore…not being able to let go. But then I realized it was a cheer leading us forward and a promise to remember what we learned together… The perfect ending to an inspiring week.

And that’s the lesson for leaders. People will assemble, at your request. They’ll smile at the camera for an official “group photo.” That’s nice:

But in the right environment, when trust transforms individuals into a team, then they’ll decide what their team photo should look like. I predict it will be better than any you envisioned:

And if you aspire to be a great boss, they just might invite you into the frame, too.

* * *

Here is the companion podcast to today’s column, with a reminder of three key building blocks of trust in any situation:

Note: Jill Geisler’s new book, Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know,” will be released on June 5. Read more


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