Attitudes of U.S. Public Broadcasters: A Liberal Helping of Interpretive Journalism

Stan Jastrzebski, Lars Willnat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Even though U.S. public broadcasting has existed for more than 50 years, little research has been done on the attitudes of its journalists. This study, based on a sample of 394 U.S. public media journalists, represents the largest-scale effort to date to catalog the professional values and beliefs of these professionals. Our findings suggest these journalists are more liberal than both the U.S. population and commercial journalists, though they find it important not to be seen as partisan in their work. And while more people of color work in public broadcasting than in commercial media, public media journalists are unsatisfied with the diversity in their newsrooms and how it represents the communities they serve. When asked about their preferred professional roles, U.S. public media journalists tend to identify more with the interpretive and populist-mobilizer functions of journalism than the adversarial and disseminator functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalElectronic News
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • journalistic roles
  • NPR
  • PBS
  • public broadcasting
  • survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Communication


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