A recent Pew Research Center survey asked Americans who their most admired journalist was. Over half of the respondents (52 percent) offered no name at all, and no single person was named by more than five percent of the people. The decline in mentions of most admired journalists is attributed to the fragmented news industry and the fact that there are more choices now than ever. A noticeable shift has occurred, reflecting the way people consume their news.

Only three years ago, 25 percent of the respondents named network news anchors or reporters, with only 14 percent naming cable news people. Today, network news folks garner only 17 percent while cable news people have risen to 16 percent, almost on par. Back in 1985, 25 years ago, Dan Rather held 11 percent of the total.

One of the more surprising results is that of the cable news figures named as most admired, about 12 percent of the respondents actually named cable television talk show hosts as the journalists they most admire, while only five percent of the most admired were actual anchors of a cable news program.

This significant change in how Americans view their news sources may have an impact on how PR professionals approach outreach efforts. Depending on the audience one is trying to reach, a traditional journalist may take second stage to a talk show host in the future. While this is not necessarily a positive comment about the state of the news industry, it is an important trend to monitor and utilize.