Scrap “news media”

OK, it’s time to abolish that meaningless term “news media.”

I’ve long advocated that we differentiate between different kinds of media, from “junk media” to “quality media” — just as we differentiate kinds of food, from “junk food” to healthy nutrition.

It’s time to get serious about this. Why? A new Pew Research Center report states that trust in the “news media” in the United States has declined to a 20-year low. The report, released Sept. 14,  is Pew’s biennial media attitudes survey, and to be fair it does address a range of media outlets. Also, the survey is an American poll that may or may not be statistically significant or relevant in other countries.

I think the problem with the poll, and with “news media” reports about it, is the repeated use of the generalized term “news media” — and that is a worldwide issue.

There is a difference between professional news organizations dedicated to the pursuit of quality, evidence based journalism — and those that spew opinionated rants or trigger-happy crap. It’s time for those who care about journalism to insist on a more intelligent, nuanced description of what we do.