Staff at The Chattanooga Times Free Press want conservatives to fill out a survey explaining why they no longer trust the mainstream media.
Chattanooga Times Free Press announced the survey this week. Editor Alison Gerber wrote that her newsroom is one of 30 across the United States to partner with The Trusting News project and The Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas. Together they said they want “to better understand the dramatic erosion of trust in media among conservatives.”
“At The Times Free Press, feedback from people who consider themselves conservatives has increased in the past few years, especially as a contentious election and the COVID-19 health crisis unfolded. Much of the feedback is critical of national news stories published in The Times Free Press and our decisions to publish those stories (or not),” Gerber wrote.
“Research shows that people who lean right are much less likely to trust the work journalists produce. The gap in trust among conservatives is stunning. While 73 percent of Democrats trust the media, only 10 percent of Republicans do, Gallup’s annual governance poll found.”
The survey, titled Conservative Voices, asks conservatives about their media use, what news outlets they frequent, and their perceptions of how well the mainstream media documents the right-of-center point of view. The survey also asks people to suggest how the news media can improve its performance as it continues to cover conservatives. Researchers may later interview respondents via Zoom, Skype, or telephone, the survey said.
“There are some risks you might experience from being in this study. The risks you may encounter is slight psychological discomfort from thinking about media coverage of political conservatives,” according to the survey.
“These risks will be no greater than you might experience in everyday life. There is also a slight risk of confidentiality because you will be providing your email address and phone number – if you participate in the interview – being audio and video recorded.”
Researchers said they plan to publish the results of the study.
The Center for Media Engagement, according to its website, accepts funding from, among others, Google, Facebook, The American Press Institute, and The Knight Foundation.
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