Public says more support needed to maintain influence and quality of UK investigative journalism - Press Gazette

Public says more support needed to maintain influence and quality of UK investigative journalism

Most members of the public appear to see the prospects for investigative journalism in the UK as bright, according to a new survey.
And a majority also agreed that investigative journalism should have help from outside the media in order to maintain its "influence and quality".
The YouGov poll of 1,807 members of the public was conducted in association with the London Press Club.
Some 58 per cent of those surveyed said they see the current state of UK investigative journalism, in terms of "quality, funding and future outlook", as either very good or good. Most (66 per cent) believe investigative journalism has a positive impact on UK democracy.
Looking at the public's view of journalists in general, a slim majority of 43 per cent said journalists were of a high quality versus 38 per cent who said they weren't of a high enough quality (with 19 per cent 'don't knows').
Asked what most closely matches their view, 45 per cent said there are "too many legal restrictions and risks for journalists these days" versus 32 per cent who said "journalists have good support from the law" and 23 per cent who said 'don't know'.
When asked whether UK investigative journalism should have outside support from the beyond the media itself to maintain influence and quality, most said yes. Some 34 per cent want a change in the law to help journalists, 26 per cent want more BBC resources spent on investigations, nine per cent backed direct state funding and seven per cent favoured some other form of support. There were 18 per cent 'don't knows' on this question and 28 per cent who said 'no', investigative journalism should not have outside support.
The survey also asked the public how they rate various news organisations for the quality of their investigative journalism, with the BBC and Guardian News and Media rated most highly.
News organisations ranked by the percentage who said they were either good or very good for investigative journalism:
  • BBC: 61 per cent
  • The Guardian/Observer: 58 per cent
  • The Telegraoph/Sunday Telegraph – very good or reasonably good – 53 per cent
  • Times/Sunday Times: 49 per cent
  • Channel 4: 48 per cent
  • ITN: 42 per cent 
  • Independent plus Evening Standard: 39 per cent
  • Mirror/Sunday Mirror: 17 per cent
  • The Sun/Sunday: 13 per cent

(Note: the survey did not ask for people's views on journalism at the Mail titles, Express Newspapers or the FT)

The survey also asked members of the public what they think investigative journalism is.
The answers were as follows:
  • Undercover reporters exposing issues such as match fixing, professional malpractice or environmental violations by large corporates: 94 per cent
  • Publishing of revelations from sources or whistleblowers such as Wikileaks, MPs expenses, 'Plebgate', Edward Snowden: 68 per cent
  • In the field journalists reporting first hand accounts, such as war reporters: 46 per cent
  • Exposés on the private lives of public figures and celebrities: 31 per cent.

The full YouGov polling data can be found via this link



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette