Survey of journalists, conducted by researchers at the Newhouse School, provides insights into the state of journalism today

A majority of U.S. journalists say they have been abused and threatened.

According to a survey conducted by researchers at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, a majority of journalists working in news media across the U.S. say they have faced verbal abuse, and about a third have received threats from a variety of sources—likely a reflection of bitter political divides, social media use and the stress of the COVID pandemic.

Female journalists were 7-to-14 times more likely to have experienced sexism and about 10 times more likely to have encountered threats of sexual violence, both online and offline.

However, journalists’ professional satisfaction in their work, and the degree of freedom they feel they have to do it, appear to be up slightly compared to a decade ago.

These are among the initial findings of “The American Journalist Under Attack.” The study, based on an online survey of 1,600 journalists in early 2022, was funded by the Newhouse School and the John Ben Snow Foundation. The authors are Lars Willnat, John Ben Snow Research Professor at the Newhouse School; David H. Weaver, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Indiana University; and Cleve Wilhoit, Professor Emeritus at Indiana University. Survey findings will be published in a book titled “The American Journalist Under Attack: Media, Trust & Democracy.”

Key findings:

The survey continues the series of major national studies of U.S. journalists begun in 1971 by sociologist John Johnstone and continued in 1982, 1992, 2002 and 2013 by Weaver, Wilhoit and their colleagues at Indiana University. Few studies of an occupation as important as journalism can claim a half-century’s analytical perspective on the work, professional attitudes and ethics from large samples of the people working in it.

For more information about the study, visit or contact Willnat at