Neville Hobson

The shift in trust

The BBC and Reuters published Trust in The Media (PDF) today:

A major 10-nation public opinion poll exploring Trust in the Media has found that even though the media is more trusted than the national government in half the countries surveyed, significant numbers of people are switching news sources because they do not trust the information they receive.

Fully 28 percent of the people polled report abandoning a news source in the past year because of lack of trust in its content. While the poll shows that overall trust in the media has remained relatively stable over the past 4 years, it also reveals clear trust winners and losers among different news media.

Internet news sources appear to be winning audiences as a result of loss of trust in traditional sources — especially young urban men. However, just as many people distrust blogs as trust them.

I think this research is highly complementary to other research on shifts in trust, especially the Edelman Trust Barometer (PDF) published in March, which asked people about their level of trust in institutions like media, business and government:

[…] [it] also asks people what are their most trusted sources for accurate and honest information. By far the most profound finding of the 2006 Trust Barometer is that in six of the 11 countries surveyed, “a person like yourself or your peer” is seen as the most credible spokesperson about a company. 

The BBC/Reuters research report was published to coincide with the We Media conference which opened in London today and continues tomorrow. The event is sponsored by the BBC and Reuters, among others.

See the We Media Blog for running event commentary. Hugh Fraser at Blog Relations is posting with some deeper insights into what’s going on at the event.

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