All the Newspapers Aren't Fit to Be Printed

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This just in: Readers hate all that tabloid journalism. Really. A survey of 3,000 citizens finds that sensationalism, bad reporting and poor grammar have given Americans a declining faith in the credibility of their local newspapers. The American Society of Newspaper Editors study finds that about 80 percent of those surveyed said newspapers print sensational stories simply to sell papers; nearly half of those polled are angry with their local rag for running misleading headlines. And in a finding sure to brighten the job prospects of copy editors everywhere, more than one third said they found a spelling mistake or similar error in the paper at least once a week.

The study is part of a three-year, million-dollar push by the ASNE to figure out just why people don't trust them as much anymore, and, by extension, to reverse declining circulation. The good news for print? Readers distrust television even more. Some 42 percent rated the box the most biased form of news media, while print clocked in at a relatively svelte 23 percent.

Of course, this may just be what people think the pollsters want to hear. "There's a real disconnect between what people tell a pollster they want and what they will actually read," says former TIME executive editor Richard L. Duncan. After all, somebody's buying all those "Special Crisis in the White House" editions -- even if they feel bad about it afterward.