Objectivity said to be still prime motivation for newspaper reporters

FOUR out of five newspaper journalists hold by the established principle that their job is about reporting objectively, with less than one in ten strongly believing their job is about giving their opinion.

It follows a survey conducted by the media website, Hold the Front Page, which surveyed over 400 people, among them reporters, student reporters, staff and freelancers, sub-editors and newspaper managers.

Daily, regional newspaper staff accounted for 197 respondents, while a further 191 work in local weekly newspapers. There were 72 responses from freelances, 45 people work for magazines, with 27 from the nationals.

The results also showed that 94.9 per cent feel their role is “to inform”, 75.2 per cent said it was “to educate”, and 60.8 felt it was “to entertain”. Exactly 70 per cent said their role was to interpret events.

While the survey was mostly about the roles journalists think they ought to be performing – such as protect the weak and hold politicians to account – a section was devoted to the hours they work.

And while some 92 per cent of respondents are contracted to work 40 hours or less hours per week, over 60 per cent actually work longer. Indeed, almost 20 per cent said they worked between 46 and 50 hours per week.

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