According to a poll given out in Britian by the Bar Standards Board, journalists are among the least trusted professions at gaining 3% of the public's trust. They were down there with bankers, estate agents and politicians. Lawyers gained 24% of the public's trust, which is surprising to me because I would think that most people wouldn't trust lawyers before journalists (however it was the Bar Board giving out the survey). I know someone who hates lawyers just from one incident that happened when his parents were going through a divorce. Lawyers unfortunately have a reputation for working around the facts and proving things by twisting situations. Journalists on the other hand have one main goal, to report the news fairly, accurately and truthfully, among other things as well.
The recent events regarding Brian Williams releasing conflicting statements about war stories in Iraq shows how the public can lose trust in journalists in just a snap. I was talking to my friends today about this topic and one friend said they don't trust the Daily Tar Heel (sorry Jenny) just because of one time they messed up on a story. They said that content was what was most important to them. They understood the small mistakes that journalists go through such a misspelled word or an extra space, but if the story is completely wrong then that does it for them.
How will news outlets like the Daily Tar Heel gain back the trust of my friend. From when we spoke he said that if a newspaper or outlet loses his trust once then it is likely that they will not gain it back. This makes it even harder on journalists to fact check as thorough and as much as possible. Newspapers are already on a decline and when they cannot report trustworthy news then will there be any hope at all for print news?
At least in America, I think despite journalists, such as Stephen Glass, Janet Cook, Brian Williams, etc. who in some way violated basic journalism ethics, are more trusted in different mediums than in Britain.