In case you haven’t noticed, professional journalists have a PR problem. The public’s opinion of their craft and “the media” they inhabit hit an all-time low last year. This finding reflects an increasingly polarized electorate filled with fed-up citizens who often retreat to openly partisan news sources because they believe all other media outlets to be tainted by bias in some form.
The fact that a healthy, functioning democracy needs journalists to survive should go without saying–and despite working in public relations, we’re a little disturbed to learn that PR professionals currently outnumber them 4 to 1 in this country. So how can journalists improve the public’s perception of the work they do?
For some, the answer is clear: don’t vote.
This is not a new debate. In fact, the issue arises during nearly every election cycle. Austin Business Journal editor Colin Pope believes that the act of choosing a candidate or privately voting on any given issue affects his ability to inform the public as a reliably objective voice; in his opinion, he essentially forfeited his right to vote when he decided to report on the news for a living.
We think it’s safe to say that most journalists do not agree.