By Rebecca Frank, News Media Alliance
As part of its commitment to a robust free press, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press surveyed 2,000 American voters and conducted four focus groups in late 2017. They sought to quantify public perceptions of press freedom and threats against the press. They conducted the research before the attacks on the Capital Gazette in Annapolis in June 2018, an event that RCFP felt gave their work more significance.
Overall, the research found that the U.S. population views press freedom much more positively than those who advocate for protecting the press. The public is more concerned with bias and influence than threats brought on by negative rhetoric (including that from President Trump), lawsuits and threats against leakers, or the rapidly changing economic conditions affecting the press. Fortunately, RCFP also found in the data insights to suggest what messages will resonate with the public to help change perceptions of the value of a free press and build support on an ongoing basis. [Full story]