NMA: Data for Understanding the Absent                                                        

The discussion over journalism and original news content reached an unprecedented debate in 2017, prompting News Media Alliance (NMA) to further understand the contrasting views of news readers across the country.

NMA is a nonprofit organization representing more than 2,000 multi-platform news organizations in the United States such as The Washington Post and The New York Times.

The association helps news-models succeed by fighting for the interests of print, digital and mobile publishers and concentrating on the challenges facing today's physical and virtual newsrooms such as freedom of the press, audience development, and revenue streams.

The purpose of this survey will provide NMA with an understanding of how the news industry can interact and strengthen their connection with readers by implementing strategic efforts for news education campaigns and improving readership interaction.

To do this, we are going to focus on a single issue that the data presents. That issue appears to be distrust in the media by Independent, and Republican voters of all ages, educational backgrounds; while the respondent's race is a questionable factor we dig into with outside data.  

Quick facts from our survey data:

35 percent of people all people surveyed do not have a preferred news source, and 8 percent don’t know.

31 percent assigned the level of importance in the media as a 7 or below on a scale of 1 to 10.

Of those who scaled the media as a 7 or below their demographics were mostly male Independents, and Republicans. That trend grows as the respondent's importance of the media declines. 

These respondents said they rated the media >7          These folks rated the press at >5

When we pull data from those who rate the media at a 5 or less, we notice a 25 percent uptick in primarily, male, Independents, and Republicans. These people are the focus of this section.

13 percent of the respondents have less than a medium level (5 or less) of importance on the media's role in today's society, of those, 44 percent do not have a preferred news organization.

Words in this image are scaled on how often they appear in text. 

In this word graph, the phrase, "I don't have one" appears 44% larger than other news organizations.

39 percent of these respondents have a four-year college degree, 15 percent have a postgraduate degree, and most were from California.

Our concern is that male, Independent, and Republican voters are moving away from traditional news media, and we don't know where they are getting their information or why they're running away from the content.

The NMA should consider outreach efforts to find these demographics and strengthen their relationship with those folks to develop their audience. They can achieve this trust by inviting this demographic to see the process of a news cycle. Look to prosperous community policing efforts and think of this as a ride along. We need to develop better relationships with people who feel disaffected by members of the NMA. The International Association of Chiefs of Police offers detailed plans to increase public trust between police and detailed demographics. (IACP, 2018)

While it would be disingenuous to suggest the NMA should cater to mostly Independent and Republican voting males, they should pause the growing distrust the [Independent and Republican voting men] have of traditional media. Why do they distrust the media more than other demographics? Do they feel left out of the conversation?

37 percent have a college degree, and of those with a college degree half of those gave the media a 5 of 10. Shifting this segment of the group mentioned above would slow down the growth of overall distrust in the media. Age did not seem to be a factor as it was consistent with the scope of folks surveyed.

Through what medium are these folks getting their news? In the first place, Cellular or Mobile devices, Second is Laptops/personal computers, and almost absent were newspapers or magazines.

It would be wise to ensure all news is formatted to fit these devices. Missing our medium will be the end of this pillar of Democracy.

Outside information:

Is race a factor?

Our survey was inconclusive as it was consistent with the people surveyed. However, according to a poll by NPR, 55 percent of whites feel like they are discriminated based on jobs, school, and help from the government. Do you think they feel discriminated by the media?

Over half of the white population in America believes that they are judged differently [worse] than other races in America. A lot of Americans gaff at the thought of a white male Independent and Republican voter feeling discriminated. However, we should look into their suggestion, and why they feel that way.

Do white Independent, and Republican males hold an argument here or are they feeling something else?  

Assist them to gain trust in the media and improve the above mentioned by becoming more educated about the issues that genuinely affect their lives, but that also affect black and brown lives more. Education not being a factor in higher unemployment would be a great place to start. Instead of just reporting that Black and Brown's unemployment is higher, break down the numbers as the Root has done here, with data from the Economic Policy Institute, so people of all races can digest the fundamental problems we all face and how to make those problems develop equitable ends.  To be clear, we do not think it's overt racism, instead of a presumption that privilege is perspective, and Independent and Republican white males do not feel privileged, although, by the numbers, per capita, they are. We think that this phenomenon can be explored across several institutions and moreover, develop a long time trend, and solution for this problem.

Supportive Evidence of Institutional Distrust.

Distrust among Independents and Republicans and our institutions

(NPR, 2018)

There is a growing distrust of our political institutions, and this includes the media. Notably among Independents and Republicans. 90 percent of Republicans and three-quarters of Independents expressed a lack of confidence in the press. (NPR, 2018)

Why don't Independents and Republicans, trust the media? The press must show how policies that help the minority, inherently help them, that white privilege exists, and that they should use their opportunity to shed light on it. (Pennwell, 2018) This is a necessary transition. Curiously, we should just ask, ‘what's outraging you, guy?’ The news, work, college, all seem unfair from their perspective, but by the numbers, they are not. Why though? Their demographics are more likely to earn far more money than any other race or gender so it can't be money, or can it? Compared to their fathers, the Independent and Republican white male is far less successful in all of the areas mentioned before. Jobs, college, and government assistance are perceived by most whites to benefit minorities more than whites; this is due to the efforts of the New Jim Crow propaganda, in an attempt to make people of color feel like second class citizens.

“Income also seemed to affect individual responses to the question of discrimination.

Lower- and moderate-income white Americans were more likely to say that whites experience discrimination — and to say they have felt it, either when applying for a job, raise or promotion or in the college-admissions process.

"We've long seen a partisan divide with Democrats more likely to say racial discrimination is that reason blacks can't get ahead, but that partisan divide is even bigger than it has been in the past," said Jocelyn Kiley, an associate director at Pew Research Center. "That's a point where we do see that partisan divides over issues of race have increased in recent years.” (NPR, 2017)

While more research is needed to determine what is driving the discontent for the news; we have a suggestion, the factor is the respondent's race, and income level. Poorer white folks seems to believe that they have it harder than any other American. While there are more poor whites than any other demographic by sheer numbers, there are more poor people per capita in minority communities. News organizations must show the benefits and justifications of affirmative action, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the UNCF. Back up with facts with data using the same method mentioned in figure 1.1. Show the white scenario and then the black and brown scene. Follow the financial contribution by immigrants, something that is under-reported. Show white, Independents, and Republicans why the programs they say are killing America, actually help them more. Visualize the injustice, tell more stories about bosses that make 500 times more money than the lowest paid employee, or how there are no EEOC protections for employees at companies with less than 15 people. Then explain how much worse that same scenario is for people who are ‘othered.’ While the majority of the US population is white, the news needs to sell the case for people who feel disenfranchised. The NMA must sew unity in America.

Increasing subscriptions:

50 percent of these folks will probably never pay to subscribe to any of our member's articles but what they do is much worse for the overall news industry. The fact that they took the time to use this survey tells us they are happy to lend their voice to things that are important to them. That should give us pause, or should it? Will noises like Alex Jones increase or will false news and conspiracy theorist go by the wayside? We doubt it. In fact, with the increased influence of adversarial countries pushing false narratives, now more than ever, the news organizations need to band together to promote fact-based news and find a way to make it appeal to those who do not trust us now. Subscriptions can come after the healing for this demographic.

The demographic may not watch the news but would be happy to tell their friends, family, and coworkers, why they do not trust our reporting. The result means they are a walking, talking, typing negative advertisement for the news industry.  

Summary of suggestions:


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