Thursday, August 02, 2007

The public perception of journalists

According to a new Harris poll which surveyed 1,010 US adults about the prestige of various occupations, journalists are again near the bottom:
Six occupations are perceived to have "very great" prestige by at least half of all adults - firefighters (61%), scientists (54%), teachers (54%), doctors (52%), military officers (52%), and nurses (50%). They are followed by police officers (46%) priests/ministers/clergy (42%) and farmers (41%).

By way of contrast, the list includes ten occupations which are perceived by less than 20 percent of adults to have "very great" prestige, with two of these under 10 percent. The lowest ratings for "very great prestige" go to real estate brokers (5%), actors (9%), bankers (10%), accountants (11%), entertainers (12%), stockbrokers (12%), union leaders (13%), journalists (13%), business executives (14%), and athletes (16%).

Members of Congress, with 26% rating them as having very great prestige, have twice the rank of journalists. If journalists could just see themselves as we see them, they might take steps to correct the problem.

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