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    Overheard on the Web, and other Web links
    From The Herald's Research Editor

    Thursday, February 03, 2005

    Who's reliable? 

    Journalists are dismayed over recent polls and surveys showing that their credibility rates around that of a used car salesman in the mind of the American public. Most journalists went into the profession hoping to do some good by raising the public's awareness of problems and pointing to solutions. So it's disheartening to hear the constant drumroll these days, about 'biased journalists'. (Not a new thing, of course, it started with vice president Spiro Agnew during the Nixon administration -- but seems to have gotten a new harsher tone recently, culminating in the anti-Dan Rather blather.)
    So it's nice to read about a new study (reported in a USA Today story) which finds that journalists rate high on a test of ethical values, ranking below only seminarians and philosophers, medical students, and physicians. It's a bit disheartening that they come in at 48 percent (seminarians and philosophers rate 65 percent); but that's still way above the average American (at 40 percent).
      "Most of them got into the business out of a sense that journalism helps democracy work and that they are helping their fellow citizens,"...
      "Journalists get in this business out of an overriding sense of wanting to serve the public interest. They work bad hours, are grossly underpaid, they are derided by other media in Hollywood and increasingly distrusted by the public.

    On another, stranger note, discussion of a popular icon with some disturbing background:
    Lots of talk on Metafilter about an essay by a prominent scientist who was key to the development of the birth control pill, Carl Djerassi, about his search for Alfred E Neuman. Seems the popular Mad Magazine cover figure was based on a common advertising image which may also have been featured on an antisemitic poster put out by the Nazis in 1930s Germany.
    This is fascinating, including the discussion on Metafilter. (Via Sheila Lennon.)

    posted by liz at 1:22 PM
    Comments: Post a Comment

    Elisabeth Donovan

    Elisabeth (Liz) Donovan was a Herald librarian for 10 years, and Research Editor for 13 years. She came to The Herald in 1981, following several years at the Washington Post. She started blogging in 2000, with a news research blog, followed by the blog at in 2003. A frequent speaker and writer on news research, she was honored in 2004 by the News Division of the Special Libraries Association for her contributions to the field.

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