How journalists gag themselves

Self-censorship is alive and well in today’s mainstream press, where four in 10 journalists say they avoid reporting stories that they perceive to be too boring, complex, or controversial. So says a new poll from the Pew Research Center for People & the Press and the COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW.

The poll of 210 reporters from both local and national news outlets indicated that the pressure to be commercially appealing frequently induces reporters to “soften the tone” of the stories they cover, or to avoid covering stories which might be considered “boring” to readers or viewers. But perhaps most revolting is that 35 percent of those polled said they had avoided covering a story because it could hurt the financial interests of the news organization’s corporate owner, and 29 percent had done the same out of deference to an advertiser.