The Fall of the Republic, The Rise of Blogs?

The latest Zogby poll commissioned by the IFC Media Project has determined that most Americans now consider the Internet the most reliable source of news. According to the results, 37.6% consider the web most reliable while 20.3% rely on television national news and 16% responded with radio news. Missing from the poll was print media such as newspapers, although most newspapers now park their newsfeeds online. Other interesting findings reveal that:

  • 39.3% consider FoxNews most trusted
  • 16% trust CNN
  • 15% trust MSNBC
  • 72.6% believe the news they read and see is biased
  • 88.7% of Republicans believe the media is biased
  • 57.5% of Democrats believe the media is biased

Zogby conducted the nationwide poll November 5-6 and surveyed 3,472 adults.

This obviously confirms what has been happening at the local level with Arizona newspapers. The Republic faces continuous budget and staff cuts while the Tribune will be cutting staff and print circulation down to four days a week.

Most papers have already placed their news online leading to speculation that readers are simply accessing news without paying for a subscription. However, given the reputation of the editorial boards of The Republic and Arizona Daily Star, online readers are falling away over the blatant bias.

Newspapers are being forced to undergo a paradigm shift in order to stay relevant. New and younger readers are less likely to purchase a hard copy of the news and only pull what they want to read while sitting down at the computer.

Newspapers will also need to also make a decision whether or not to present news objectively or in a manner that affirms readers’ values. Most mainstream news outlets claim to be objective but lean left of center. It might be in their best interest to come out of the closet and announce those biases and let the readers vote with their dollars. FoxNews asserts itself as fair and balanced and the claim seems to hold up given their ratings and viewer responses. CNN and MSNBC however, do not make similar claims but have a reputation of promoting left of center shows and hosts. Their viewership ratings reflect thus.

Where this leaves the blogs in the big picture of news is undetermined and still being defined. Blogs serve an important role in the fact that they allow individuals to present their viewpoint although it is likely biased and sometimes incomplete or inaccurate. But it is tangible and personal and that draws readers in on an intellectual and even emotional level.

At Sonoran Alliance, our writers are encouraged to express their viewpoints but I also task them to back up any assertions they make and be as accurate and complete as possible. Yes, our writers have erred on occassion but we attempt to correct those errors as would be expected of any other writer. Our perspective is clearly and overtly conservative but that has always been our claim. We do the best to represent the conservative worldview and that success has been confirmed by our daily, weekly and monthly readership.

In this day and age news readers are voting with their web hits and page views. Print is out and bytes are in. But most important, readers are hungry to have their values fed and that hunger is driving the marketplace to change the menu and even how readers digest what they read and see.

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