ERIC Number: ED270771
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Readers' Views toward a Newspaper Ombudsman Program.
Hartung, Barbara W.; JaCoby, Alfred
A study examined (1) whether the public knows of the newspaper ombudsman and his or her role at the newspaper, and (2) probed the effects of calling a newspaper on public perceptions of the newspaper's interest in accuracy and correcting errors. Two telephone questionnaires were completed by 152 of the 438 persons who had contacted the ombudsman at "The San Diego Union" from January through October 1984. These opinions were compared with those of 202 randomly selected persons who had not called the paper. Both samples were comprised of "Union" subscribers and nonsubscribers. The results indicated that well over half of those who had occasion to call the newspaper knew of the ombudsman by name, or referred to him as a reader's representative or ombudsman. Those who had never called the newspaper about a problem indicated far less knowledge of the ombudsman and his role. The majority of callers were satisfied with the newspaper's response to their calls, with over 40% indicating they were very satisfied. Complaints fell into two major negative categories--fact errors and disagreement over newspaper policy and news judgment. The results indicated, however, that the reason for the complaint was not important to the caller when considering satisfaction with the newspaper's response. The results suggest that calling a newspaper ombudsman may have some positive effect. (Tables of data are included.) (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (69th, Norman, OK, August 3-6, 1986).