How we really decide which news media to trust | WARC | The Feed
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How we really decide which news media to trust
What makes us trust the news we hear and see? Journalists and news professionals may believe trust is built on scrupulous reporting and ethics of accuracy and fairness, but new research from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism suggests these factors may be a lot less important than previously thought.
The report looks at audiences in four countries - the US, UK, India, and Brazil - and focuses on the question of why trust seems to have steadily fallen, and looks at the growing importance of digital platforms in news consumption.
- Researchers found that, even though audiences often mention accurate reporting as being important, brand reputations and the way information is presented have a major bearing on the degree of trust audiences have in the content.
- The line between those people who are more trusting and those who are less is often blurred; trust in news is not a single idea, but a mix of attitudes. Probably the most important distinction found was between audiences who have fixed ideas about which source they trust, which helps them navigate a crowded media landscape, and those who are unsure about which news sources to trust and so often end up being sceptical about them all.
- While social media platforms, search engines and messaging apps are valued for their convenience, they are viewed by many as being stuffed with unreliable and even dangerous information.
“These findings point both to opportunities and challenges for news organisations that seek to build trust with their audiences … To the extent that many users are looking for greater guidance on how to navigate between sources online, it suggests that news organisations would benefit from providing clearer cues and signals about who they are, their histories, what they stand for, and how they do their work,” the researchers state.
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