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ERIC Number: ED258254
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Pages: 25
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Public's View of Newspaper Accountability.
Bernstein, James M.
A study was conducted to determine how readers regard the accountability of newspapers that employ ombudsmen. Subjects were 393 readers of Kentucky's "Louisville Times" and "Courier Journal." Both papers, the first American papers to hire ombudsmen, publicize the existence of the ombudsman in a daily column, and from 1974 to 1981, the "Times" employed a news critic whose responsibilities included writing a regular column that evaluated the work of area news media, including those owned by his publisher. Three sets of questions were administered to subjects by telephone. The first dealt with awareness of the ombudsman program at the papers, the second dealt with readership of the news criticism column, and the third dealt with perceptions of accountability. Results indicated that slightly more than half the sample were unaware of the program, while slightly more than one-fifth of the sample were most aware of it. More than 45% of the "Times" readers said they read the news criticism column at least once a month, although nearly two thirds of them could name neither the column nor the writer. Furthermore, the 45% who said they read the column did not connect the column with attempts by the newspaper to be accountable. Awareness of the ombudsman program had a positive influence on perceived newspaper accountability. The results suggest than an ombudsman may work well as a public relations device with readers. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A