NEW YORK: The global rise in “fake news” allegations appears to have impelled journalists to improve their reporting so that half (52%) of them now believe traditional media to be the most trusted source of news, a new survey has found.

Part two of Ogilvy Media Influence’s annual global survey of 255 news media professionals also confirmed that 22% of journalists trust company websites and press releases, while social media is seen as the biggest contributor to the growth of fake news.

Looking at the survey results per region, 59% of respondents in North America believe traditional media, such as newspapers and newswires, are the most trusted news sources, while 15% say the same of company websites and press releases.

In Asia Pacific, exactly half (50%) trust traditional media, followed by company websites and press releases (29%), while 47% of EMEA journalists cite traditional media followed by company websites and press releases (22%).

“Contrary to sentiment that fake news is actually eroding journalism in these legacy media channels, a lot of [traditional media] stories have better reporting, better fact-checking, and better citing of sources,” said Jennifer Risi, Ogilvy’s Worldwide Chief Communications Officer in comments to PR Week.

“The fake news phenomenon has put a spotlight on news more traditionally, and it has made journalists and editors challenge their reporters and put more parameters in place to ensure the news is accurate,” she added.

According to other findings from the survey, journalists worldwide believe social media (25%), polarised media coverage (14%) and confirmation bias (14%) have contributed the most to the rise of fake news.

And journalists in EMEA (14%) and Asia Pacific (17%) also believe money is a contributing factor to its rise.

Elsewhere, the survey found that, quite apart from the increasingly fractured media landscape, the international political climate and unexpected events over the past year have begun to change the way journalists go about reporting stories.

More than half (54%) of journalists in North America say they have changed their reporting methods, as have 41% in EMEA and a third (34%) of reporters in Asia Pacific.

“Across all regions, 41% of journalists in the survey indicate that better reporting is one of the best ways to combat fake news. That means journalists are becoming more vigilant about fact-checking, citing credible sources and being fully transparent in their reporting process,” Risi explained in an article for Campaign US.

“To increase consumer confidence, brands will not only need to emulate the increased veracity being implemented by media, they will need to ensure they are relying solely on those outlets that have demonstrated the highest level of credibility to tell their stories.”

Data sourced from Ogilvy, PR Week, Campaign US; additional content by WARC staff