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Poll: Utahns Think Police Too Open with Reporters

Poll: Utahns Think Police Too Open with Reporters

Posted - May 2, 2003 at 10:26 p.m.



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Stacey Butler reporting The scandal has opened a Pandora's Box for Utah police and how they deal with reporters. A new poll by Survey USA, for Eyewitness News, asks Utahns, what they think about it.

An overwhelming number of Utahns think police shouldn't be as open with reporters as they apparently were in the Smart case. And according to tonight's Survey USA poll, the situation has badly damaged the Salt Lake Tribune's credibility.

SHOULD NEWS ORGANIZATIONS REPORT INFO GATHERED FROM CONFIDENTIAL SOURCES?
27% CONFIDENTIAL
69% IDENTIFIED

"Should news organizations report information from confidential sources...or only those that can be identified?" Over two-thirds said only identifiable sources should be used.

DO YOU THINK NEWS REPORTERS ARE FAIR?
52% YES
38% NO % NOT SURE

When asked, "Do you think news reporters are fair in their reporting of new events and information?"...over half said yes.

Harry Sing Salt Lake City Resident:"JUST DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE HEAR OR READ."

DO YOU THINK IT IS APPROPRIATE FOR POLICE TO GIVE INFORMATION TO REPORTERS?
11% ALWAYS APPROPRIATE
72% SOMETIMES APPROPRIATE
16% NEVER APPROPRIATE

When asked, "Do you think it is appropriate for police to give information about ongoing investigations to reporters? The vast majority said it's appropriate only sometimes.

HAS THIS HELPED OR HURT THE TRIBUNE'S REPUTATION?
71% HURT
7% HELPED
20% NO DIFFERENCE

After they sold information that some Smart family members had allegedly been involved in aberrant sex behavior to the National Enquirer, two Salt Lake Tribune reporters were fired. Our poll asked, "Do you think this has helped or hurt the Tribune's reputation as a news source?" A whopping 71 % answered yes. Many told us they'll continue reading the Tribune even though they disagree with the reporters' actions.

Cary Nichols Salt Lake City Resident:"I THINK THAT'S TOTALLY OUT OF LINE, IF NOT ILLEGAL IT'S IMMORAL AND UNETHICAL."

SHOULD THE OFFICERS SHOULD BE PUNISHED?
39% FIRED
30% SUSPENDED
29% DISCIPLINED

If it is found that some Salt Lake City Police officers improperly leaked information to reporters...39-percent of those asked said the officers should be fired.

Rosemary Hendrix, Salt Lake City Resident: THERE COULD BE PROBLEMS IF WE START PUNISHING THE COPS...AND REPORTERS."

Whether police are punished or not, this case is sure to impact the unique relationship between police and reporters.

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