[SUNDAY FEATURE] ASU’s Cronkite school says ‘objectivity’ is hurting the news media. They’re wrong

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Opinion: Diversity is great, but newsrooms also need diversity that moves them past group-think.

By Phil Boas || The Arizona Republic

American news media have a big problem.

People don’t trust them. They don’t trust mainstream newspapers and TV networks to deliver information honestly and without political agendas.

A Gallup poll published in October 2021 shows that trust in media has fallen to its second-lowest ebb since the polling firm began tracking in 1972.

Only 36% of Americans surveyed have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in mass media. That’s a significant fall from 72% in the 1970s. Today, only 7% express “a great deal” of trust.

In a 2022 survey spanning six continents, Reuters Institute found among 46 nations surveyed that American has the lowest trust in its media at 26%.

ASU has a plan to fix a lack of trust

Something has gone terribly wrong in the news business, and the Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism has an audacious plan to solve it.

In a Jan. 30 op-ed in his old newspaper, journalism professor and former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie, Jr. announced that he and his Cronkite colleague, research professor Andrew Heyward, have authored a report to help American media gain the trust of the American people. They plan to take their playbook to “working newsrooms around the United States.”

“The mission to produce trustworthy news will never end,” they wrote. “But it has to start somewhere.” So they begin by naming the culprit that plagues American newsrooms:


One can almost hear the cackling of media critics and conservatives. Why would American news media abandon objectivity before they’ve even tried it?

But what do we mean by ‘objectivity’?


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February 2023