U.S. journos claiming to be Republican hits new low

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A dwindling number of American journalists are self-identifying as Republicans, reports Hadas Gold in POLITICO.

Over the past eleven years, the percentage of journalists claiming to be Republican has declined from 18 percent in 2002, down to a low of seven percent in 2013 according to a study by professors Lars Willnat and David H. Weaver of Indiana University.

During 1971 — in the first of five versions of the report — nearly 26 percent of full-time journalists said they were Republican.

More than half of all journalists identify as independents, the highest ever for the survey, while the number of Democrats dipped to 28.1 percent. Almost 15 percent claimed “other,” making 65 percent of reporters aligning with neither political party.

Two important things to remember about the report: all types of journalists were surveyed, not just political reporters, and the movement towards the independent label reflects a similar trend among the broader electorate, who feel both parties are ideological rigid and intractable.

Gold offers one other insight; the parties are considerably different than they were in the 1970s. With the current political landscape, it is safer for reporters to remain independent, than suffer any accusations of bias.

Among the other interesting survey findings: Sixty percent of respondents say they believe American journalism is moving in the wrong direction. Job satisfaction has also dropped from its 2002 peak, down to over 23 percent of journalists claiming they are “very satisfied” at their jobs. For only 12 percent, reaching a broad audience is “extremely important.”

At the same time, journalists see their role as “investigating government claims” is at its peak, with 78 percent calling that part of their job “extremely important.”

The Indiana University study utilized online interviews with 1,080 reporters, taking place between August and December of 2013.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.