Publications

Below is a list of publications based on the previous four American Journalist survey studies that have been conducted in 1982, 1992, 2002, and 2013 

The four books, The American Journalist (1986), The American Journalist in the 1990s (1996), The American Journalist in the 21st Century (2007), and The American Journalist in the Digital Age (2017), have documented the major changes over time in U.S. journalism, including the dramatic decline  in the size of the journalism workforce, substantial increases in the proportions of women and college graduates, increases in racial and ethnic minority journalists, changes in job satisfaction and perceived autonomy, and changes in ideas about the roles that journalists should perform in society. All four of these books have won the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Research About Journalism (the highest national professional award of its kind), and all have been cited frequently by scholars of journalism and communication studies around the world.

The American journalist in the digital age: How journalists and the public think about journalism in the United States

This paper reports findings from a 2013 survey of 1,080 U.S. journalists and a 2014 survey of 1230 U.S. citizens, focusing on their views of traditional journalism roles and the performance of journalism in the United States. The study finds significant differences in how journalists and the public evaluate news media performance and journalistic roles. It also finds that news consumption and social media use predict stronger support for traditional journalistic roles among journalists and citizens.

Willnat, L., Weaver, D. H., & Wilhoit, G. C. (2019). The American journalist in the digital age: How journalists and the public think about journalism in the United States. Journalism Studies, 20(3), 423-441.

The American journalist in the digital age: Another look at U.S. news people

This project is based on interviews with a national probability sample of U.S. journalists to document the tremendous changes that have occurred in journalism in the 21st century. More than a decade has passed since the last comprehensive survey of U.S. journalists was carried out in 2002. This 2013 survey of U.S. journalists updates these findings with new questions about the impact of social media in the newsroom and presents a look at the data on the demographics, working conditions, and professional values of 1,080 U.S. journalists who were interviewed online in the fall of 2013.

Weaver, D. H., Willnat, L., & Wilhoit, G. C. (2019). The American journalist in the digital age: Another look at US news people. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 96(1), 101-130.

Social media and U.S. journalists: Uses and perceived effects on perceived norms and values.

This study, based on a representative online survey of 1,080 U.S. journalists conducted in 2013, analyses the demographic and organizational predictors of how journalists use social media and how they evaluate the impact of these media on their professional norms and values. The findings indicate that 9 of 10 U.S. journalists regularly use social media in their work—but mainly to check on what other news organizations are doing and to look for breaking news events. The most frequent users of social media are younger journalists with higher incomes who work for television, radio, or online news organizations. The findings also indicate that journalists who hold more positive attitudes toward the use of social media in journalism, and those who think that social media are more important in their jobs, tend to be more supportive of the populist-mobilizer and the disseminator roles of journalism.

Willnat, L., & Weaver, D. H. (2018). Social media and US journalists: Uses and perceived effects on perceived norms and values. Digital Journalism, 6(7), 889-909.

A breed apart? A comparative study of investigative journalists and U.S. journalists

This study reports selected comparative findings from two national surveys of 861 self-identified investigative journalists and 1,080 U.S. journalists drawn from the profession as a whole. The study examines possible predictors of journalistic roles and support for controversial reporting techniques, including demographics, organizational context, and journalistic attitudes. It finds notable distinctions in demographic factors, perceptions of journalistic roles, and attitudes toward controversial reporting practices. As expected, investigative journalists are more likely to express support for the adversarial function of journalism. Among U.S. journalists, those who support the adversarial approach are characterized by significant attitudinal differences. The study suggests the need for more research that analyzes distinct practitioner groups identified by the kind of journalism they produce.

 

Lanosga, G., Willnat, L., Weaver, D. H., & Houston, B. (2017). A breed apart? A comparative study of investigative journalists and US journalists. Journalism Studies, 18(3), 265-287.

Changes in U.S. journalism: How do journalists think about social media?

During the past decade, great changes have occurred in journalism, many of them due to the rapid rise of social media. What has happened to American journalists in the decade since the early 2000s, a time of tumultuous changes in society, economics, and technology? What impact have the many cutbacks and the dramatic growth of the internet had on U.S. journalists’ attitudes, and behaviors—and even on the definition of who is a journalist? To answer the questions raised above, in late 2013 we conducted a national online survey of 1,080 U.S. journalists. We found that U.S. journalists use social media mainly to check on what other news organizations are doing and to look for breaking news events. A majority also use social media to find ideas for stories, keep in touch with their readers and viewers, and find additional information. Thus, journalists use social media predominantly as information-gathering tools and much less to interview sources or to validate information.

 

Weaver, D. H., & Willnat, L. (2016). Changes in US journalism: How do journalists think about social media? Journalism Practice, 10(7), 844-855.

Changes in professionalism of U.S. journalists in the turbulent twenty-first century

A panel study of 400 U.S. journalists assessed changes in indicators of professionalism between 2002 and 2007, a period of significant economic and technological turmoil for news organizations. Findings show that professional organization membership declined among journalists, and staff cutbacks and higher workloads posed threats to the autonomy of some news workers. Beliefs about professional roles shifted slightly, with more emphasis on analyzing problems and being adversaries of public officials. Finally, journalists became more ethically cautious during the five-year span of the study, a period in which ethical lapses were disclosed by several high-profile news organizations.

 

Beam, R. A., Weaver, D. H., & Brownlee, B. J. (2009). Changes in professionalism of US journalists in the turbulent twenty-first century. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 86(2), 277-298.

Daily newspaper journalists in the 1990s

Based on the 1992 American Journalist study, this paper gave an overview of the great changes in journalism in the past decade. It found both some worrisome changes and progresses among daily newspaper journalists. It has also been a period of little growth in overall numbers and little change in the representation of women and minorities.

 

Weaver, D., & Wilhoit, G. C. (1994). Daily newspaper journalists in the 1990s. Newspaper Research Journal, 15(3), 2-21.

U.S. television, radio and daily newspaper journalists

This paper suggests that the differences between broadcast and print journalists may not be as great as assumed.

 

Weaver, D., Drew, D., & Wilhoit, G. C. (1986). US television, radio and daily newspaper journalists. Journalism Quarterly, 63(4), 683-692.