Americans are unhappy with quality of journalism. That will be the key driver of the citizen journalism, or more broadly, new forms of media content creation and distribution. A survey performed in conjunction with the recently held We Media conference in Miami by John Zogby interviewed 5,384 adults nationwide, giving some pretty solid results. The figures below show that, not surprisingly, professionals (in this case the conference goers) are not quite as cynical as the population at large. However conservatives and older people are particularly contemptuous of the standards of journalism. As a result, a significant majority of Americans believe that blogging and citizen journalism will play a vital role in the future of journalism.
Source: WE MEDIA-ZOGBY poll
While I’m a true believer in the power of media creation outside the establishment, I’m still a little surprised by the broad enthusiasm of the respondents for blogging and citizen journalism. What it comes down to is dissatisfaction with the status quo, and having seen the potential for something better. This is certainly not to say that blogging in its current form is a viable alternative to mainstream news media. New models that combine professional expertise with amateur participation will absolutely become alternatives, or at least strongly complementary to existing media. My favorite example is NewAssignment.Net. David Cohn from NewAssignment.Net reviews the idea of “crowdsourcing” in journalism, and points to techPresident, which will include input from contributors across the nation.