A poll conducted late last year by Gallup found that only 21 percent of the respondents ranked newspaper reporters with either high or very high standards for ethics and honesty Ė just above attorneys! Television reporters scored even lower at 20 percent, and advertisers held a low rating of only 14 percent. Lobbyists held the dubious honor of being at the bottom of the list with only six percent. What does this mean for marketers and PR pros?

As a recent blog post by Poynter points out, journalists have not held a very high ranking since the poll was first conducted in 1976. At that time, all journalists were grouped together and had attained a 33 percent ranking. While vacillating over time, that first poll was the high point. This means that, while people read their newspapers and watch TV news reports, there is a degree of skepticism to overcome.

Unfortunately, media is driven by negative reporting for the most part. An uplifting and positive story will usually get less attention than a crisis or negative event. The same is true for coverage of the media. We usually donít hear about the great news coverage provided by journalists, but we almost always hear about the mistakes made in a news report.

Companies looking to gain positive exposure to the press would be well advised to build their list of media contacts taking into account both the areas each journalist covers, and also their reputation in the community.