Date

8-2016

Degree Name

BS in Journalism

Department

Journalism Department

Advisor(s)

Dan Eller

Abstract

The focus of this research paper is to qualify the relationship between the public and the Media and to discover how much Media bias, or the perception of Media bias affects that relationship. An important angle taken in this study is the question of whether or not bias on the part of the Media actually helps the public when forming educated opinions.

The review of existing literature on Media bias and public perception of the Media and the collection of data via interviews with expert, professional journalists have led to two conclusions about the Media-public relationship: (1) in order for the relationship to function well, there must be an “authentic trust” between the two parties – a trust that accepts the possibility of misinformation or bad reporting (Flores and Solomon 1998); and (2) the relationship must also be mutually-beneficial.

The major harbinger to the mutually beneficial relationship is the Uses and Gratification Theory – which means that the public only consumes what reaffirms their own biases and opinions. This is part of the growing phenomenon of non-Media members becoming their own journalists, thanks to the growing technology industry.

All of the interviews conducted in this study found the respondents agreed on this: the Media ought to explain its mistakes, especially apparent biases in their reporting. The conclusion is that Media bias, when apparent and carefully pointed out by the Media, can benefit the public in that it aids the formulation of original opinions in the head of the consumer.

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