Media needs to be more transparent to be trusted
"Journalists are not only reluctant to explain what they know and how they know it," the report said, "their news organizations are also often loath to admit mistakes and loath to publicly state their policies regarding their internal journalistic and ethical guidelines."
The University of Maryland-based group looked at five categories to rate a news outlet's transparency: willingness to correct mistakes, receptivity to reader criticisms, and openness about ownership, editorial policies and conflicts of interest.
Overall, print tended to be more transparent than broadcast, but there were exceptions. Tops in transparency were The Guardian, The New York Times, BBC News, CBS News, The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio.
The worst? Time magazine, CNN, ITN, Sky News and Al Jazeera (English).
"Transparency is essential because it's inextricably tied to credibility," said Susan Moeller, director of the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda. "Transparency doesn't ensure accuracy. But it does ensure that when a news outlet makes a mistake ... its audience can be assured that the news outlet is going to admit to it and correct it and will have policies in place for following it up."
The report also found that only seven of the 25 news outlets have an ombudsman who acts as a liaison with the public -- five newspapers, NPR and CBS.