OMAHA, Neb. (Jan. 20, 2004) — Media in Nebraska received high marks for being unbiased, with a plurality of business executives saying media are not biased either for or against businesses in the Nebraska Business:Media Index™. Businesses received high marks for trustworthiness, with 91 percent of media respondents saying that, overall, they trust Nebraska business leaders.

The survey of journalists and executives was released today by Hanser & Associates, a public relations firm affiliated with Redstone Communications of Omaha. The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce cooperated with the survey. It is the first-ever survey of its kind in Nebraska .

“We think that Nebraskans will be glad that the relationship between our state’s business and media is sound, though several areas need improvement,” said Ronald Hanser, president of Hanser & Associates.

The Nebraska Business:Media Index asked Nebraska ’s 500 largest private sector businesses and all of Nebraska ’s daily media outlets to evaluate their relationship with each other. The survey was conducted and sponsored by Hanser & Associates.

Nebraska business executives gave the media a grade of C+ overall, while Nebraska media gave businesses a C overall.

Executives were closely divided between saying media tended to lean right, left or be neutral on the political spectrum. But media received lower marks for understanding the businesses they covered. Sixty-four percent of business executives said reporters did not have sufficient education to cover business issues. The same percentage said Nebraska media did not adequately scrutinize information provided by businesses in the state.

“Business executives are saying that taken as a whole Nebraska media is balanced but not adequately prepared to cover complex business issues,” said Hanser. “This indicates a need for businesses to educate reporters and provide them with more background information regarding their industry and company.”

Seventy-seven percent of the media surveyed say they have been lied to or misled by business executives. Despite this, 91 percent of media respondents say that, overall, they trust Nebraska business leaders, and 88 percent say they trust the accuracy of information provided by Nebraska businesses.

Similar surveys conducted by Hanser & Associates and its affiliates in Canada , Iowa and Ohio produced similar results.

Complete survey results are available online here, or by calling Hanser & Associates at 402.393.8131. Business executives, media and the public can comment on the survey results via the Web site.

ABOUT THE NEBRASKA BUSINESS:MEDIA INDEX™

The Nebraska Business:Media Index is a survey conducted and sponsored by Hanser & Associates. Conducted on Nebraska ’s largest private sector employers and daily media with the cooperation of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the survey is designed to measure the relationships between Nebraska businesses and media. This survey will be repeated periodically by Hanser & Associates to continue shedding light on how businesses and media can more effectively work together. The Business:Media Index is a trademark of Hanser & Associates and the survey is copyrighted by the firm.

The Business:Media Index was conducted via e-mail and fax in Nebraska during November 2003. The survey of business leaders was distributed to 500 CEOs and other top executives at Nebraska ’s 500 largest private sector employers. There were 86 business respondents for a response rate of 17 percent. The results have a statistical precision of plus or minus 8 percent with 90 percent certainty. The survey of media leaders was distributed to 121 editors, publishers, and station managers at all of Nebraska ’s daily newspapers, TV stations and radio stations, a total of 81 outlets. There were 35 media respondents for a response rate of 29 percent. The results have a statistical precision of plus or minus 12 percent with 90 percent certainty.