In media we trust? How our views of the media are changing

While chants of “fake news” ring out around the world, this paper asks is there really a crisis of trust in the media?

The crisis of trust is overblown, but there is a problem with the public’s trust in the media, is the key finding from In media we trust? How our views of the media are changing. Surveying 27,000 people across 28 countries, the white paper sought to find out how real is the crisis of trust in the media?

This research found that globally there is not a crisis of trust in the media, but in established markets it appears that there is an issue with trust, if not a crisis, particularly focused on digital platforms.

Globally those under 35 are far more likely to trust digital platforms than people over 50, while baby boomers are more likely to rate trust in TV/radio more positively than millennials. However, when it comes to trust in print media (newspapers/magazines) trust is consistent across all ages.

The paper found the public have the most trust in people they know in real life, followed by TV/radio, newspapers/magazines, websites and finally people they know through the internet. Lower levels of trust in digital communication, the paper argued, could be due to lower barriers to entry which impact on perceptions of quality and rigour versus traditional media - TV, radio and print – which are expensive to produce and the outlets limited.

However, the biggest differences in trust appear when comparing emerging and established markets. Emerging markets have marginally higher levels of trust, but also more people say their trust in the media has grown in the past five years than say it decreased. The reverse is true in established markets where the share of people who say they trust media less than they did five years ago exceeds the share of those who say they trust it more by -15points.

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