Many U.S. news organizations are covering the coronavirus pandemic while themselves facing financial pressure from it. A growing number have announced layoffs, furloughs and other cost-cutting measures as the virus inflicts widespread pain on the economy, and these cuts come on top of years of earlier reductions in newsroom staffing, especially at newspapers.
Amid the financial challenges facing newsrooms, 54% of U.S. adults say the news media have done an excellent or good job responding to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a survey conducted March 19-24 as part of Pew Research Center’s Election News Pathways project. A slightly smaller share (46%) says the media’s response has been only fair or poor.
Americans rate the news media’s response to the virus more positively than that of President Donald Trump, but more negatively than the responses of other key actors, including public health officials, state and local elected officials and ordinary people in their communities.
The public’s assessment of this media response comes at a time when most Americans are paying close attention to coronavirus news. Around six-in-ten U.S. adults (57%) say they are following the news about the virus very closely, and an additional 35% are following it fairly closely, according to the survey of 11,537 adults who are members of the Center’s American Trends Panel.