Who do you trust? Many people can remember the days when journalists were known for the "most trusted people in America." Walter Cronkite, no matter where he stood or sat on political, environmental, life or issues of war and peace never tipped his hand while he was on the air, on the set of CBS News. This morning National Public Radio broadcasted a story about Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism's annual "State of the News" report. The findings are a quantitative survey of how and why people's habits have changed in consumption of news and how news outlets have responded.
Overall TV News viewership is down. Newsroom employment at newspapers is down 30 percent since a peak in 2000 and has gone down 30 percent for the first time since 1978. Newsweek is gone and time continues to cut staff. Local Sports, weather and traffic now account for 40 percent of the content of the average local TV news. Pew Research acting director of the Excellence in Journalism called that statistic "a recipe for future erosion."
Only 42 percent of adults under the age of 30 counted themselves as regular local news viewers in 2006; however last year that number was down to 28 percent. Cable news is increasingly Talk-tv. Over the last five years, CNN has cut back on produced and live event coverage, according to the study. During the presidential campaign, Pew found that reporters were merely "megaphones instead of investigators." "More stories are simply reporting verbatim what candidates or partisans are saying, rather than using those statements as a starting-off point to explore the issue." While there are more news outlets and places for consumption, many readers, listeners and viewers are leaving once prominent news sources because they are not getting what they want."
It is a good sign that people are looking for other sources that are looking for "truth in journalism." This is an opportunity for evangelicals to press on with asking the right questions, pointing out the ironic and giving people news that affects their marriages, families and communities. "Of the people who left mainstream news outlets," the study found that, "61 percent claim that news stories are less than complete than they have been in the past." "We are at a point," Mitchel says, "where we have to get back to quality and think about what we are giving people."
News gathering and reporting with the truth factor in the nature of journalism is seemingly the missing quality of what is happening in media overall. This gives an opportunity to take a higher road for evangelically minded journalists. The writer of Proverbs 13:17 writes that while a "foolish messenger brings trouble, a trusted reporter delivers healing." In speaking to a group of journalists who work at a media ministry in Colorado Springs the message from Pew is encouraging. Recently the news team from Citizen Link, a news source from Focus on the Family changed from a news feature that had the quality of preaching to the choir to a new feature that doesn't tell people what to do but asks better questions instead.
Affiliates, Alliances, Associates
This report from Pew is an encouragement that the changes from Family News in Focus but in hindsight affiliates are reporting traction and increasing listener-ship with the new Citizen link feature- and in the motive, the approach, the quality and the power of truth in journalism, listeners are turning it up. This is the same thing with the social media and viral appeal of the Stoplight feature. Stewart Shepard, the host of both media features has been branded "the worst person in America" by the snarky host of the Daily Show, Jon Stewart, and "a true patriot" by Fox News talk show host Bill Reilly. The branding change from Action and Public Policy to the truth and interactive components that Citizen Link has rolled out gives evangelical minded journalists better places for news consumers to find what they are looking for- bottom line, unfiltered truth. http://www.citizenlink.com/stoplight/
The Mission is more than coffee
Brett Bixler and family are both officially and unofficially open for business in Colorado Springs. Mission Coffee Roasters is locally roasted and brewed at the cafe on Ridgeline and Voyager Parkway (three blocks North of Interquest). On Saturday many of the readers of examiner.com and the East Coast Cafe Blogs showed up. Coffee-houses in Europe and more recently in the USA have been places where people can talk issues and start, support and sustain relationships and quite frankly get their news! Training of Baristas began and mission people are empowered to dream-dreams, schedule meetings and devotions and drink "really good coffee with a mission." Church coffee houses are buying coffee and free consulting for their in-house coffee bars at their churches. Mission coffee sponsors great evangelical; special needs ministries and media and culture reports from this pastor, reporter and media professional, and is a prayer-point ministry for the National Prayer Examiner and Front Range Thinking community groups. Come in, buy a specialty drink and get a free tall cup of dripped gourmet coffee for free. To find out more, please e-mail Missioncoffee@juno.com.