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Americans' confidence in newspapers at new low

Staff writer |
The 20% of Americans who are confident in newspapers as a U.S. institution hit an all-time low this year.

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This is marking the 10th consecutive year that more Americans express little or no, rather than high, confidence in the institution.

The percentage of Americans expressing "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in newspapers has been dwindling since 2000, and the percentage expressing "very little" or "none" finally eclipsed it in 2007.

The percentage with low confidence has only expanded since, tying a previous high of 36%.

One in five U.S. adults now say they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in newspapers - the all-time low for newspapers in Gallup's trend dating to 1973.

An additional 42% of U.S. adults say they have "some" confidence, meaning that the institution still sparks at least a measure of confidence in a majority of Americans.

Young adults aged 18 to 34 have consistently been the most positive of all age groups about newspapers as an institution. However, the broader decline in confidence has finally reached the point that young adults are more likely to say they have very little or no confidence in newspapers than to say they have high confidence.

This year marks the second straight year that newspapers are running a significant confidence deficit among young adults.

The decline in public confidence in newspapers since 2000 is part of a larger pattern of decline in Americans' confidence in U.S. institutions. However, since 2000, confidence in newspapers has fallen more steeply than the average of 14 institutions Gallup has tracked annually since 1993.

While average confidence across all 14 institutions fell from 40% in 2000 to 32% the last two years, confidence in newspapers fell from 37% to 20% over the same period.

Confidence in newspapers was at a peak in 2000, after climbing between 1993 and that year. However, even compared with 1993, confidence in newspapers has fallen more than the 14-institution average.

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