A population survey collected representative data for the first time on the tasks assigned to journalists by the German population. These were then compared with existing data on the self-perception of journalistic roles.
The relationship between journalism and the audience has changed due to media change: behaviour in media use is changing, more transparency and a stronger focus on participation and dialogue are demanded from journalism. In parts of the population, confidence in quality media is also dwindling, and their media coverage is criticised, even to the point of accusations of being the “lying press”. Declining subscription numbers to daily newspapers and the poor willingness to pay for online journalism are also indicators that journalism often does not meet the expectations of its users.
However, little is known about the expectations the population has of journalism. We know even less about how audience expectations of journalistic performance relate to what journalists themselves regard as their professional task, their self-image. This also means that we know very little about how far the views of good quality journalism differ on both sides.
Therefore, the aim of the planned survey was, for the first time, to collect representative data on the population's expectations of journalism in order to compare them with existing data on journalistic self-image, which was collected in a representative survey of journalists. The findings provided a profound picture of what different tasks journalists should perform from the audience's point of view and how important they are considered in detail. The comparison of the findings on both the audience and journalism sides also revealed how far the respective views differ, i.e. what journalists should do and what they want to do.
Photo by Juan Carlos