The phrase “fake news” has been unavoidable from everyday vernacular in recent months, even to the point of being a central theme to a music marketing campaign. However, despite presidential accusations and congressional hearings, public trust in mainstream news media remains as strong as ever.
Research and design firm Kantar has released the results of its 8,000-person “Trust in News” study revealing that public reliance on conventional news outlets for an accurate picture of world events has been largely unaffected by what The New York Times, Forbes and The Economist have called “the post-truth world.” You can download the full report here.
Individuals are taking greater responsibility for vetting the news they read, Kantar’s survey found. Forty percent of respondents claim they have increased the number of news sources they rely on, and 75 percent said that they have independently fact-checked a news story as they read it.
Conventional Media Fights Fake News
Print magazines, cable networks and radio programs ranked highest among news providers, with 72, 69 and 68 percent, respectively, claiming they trusted said sources. Survey respondents trust social media and messaging apps the least, with only 33 and 37 percent valuing them as news sources.
Furthermore, out of all news providers, magazines, radio networks and news channels suffered the least from accusations of fake news. Of those Kantar surveyed, 23 percent responded trusting magazines less than they had before, but the same percentage claimed to trust them more. The same held true with radio bulletins, with both 18 percent trusting less and 18 percent trusting more.
The hardest sectors that were hit once again were social media and messaging apps, with more than half of all respondents claiming to view both verticals as less reliable for accurate coverage than they had before.
Dark Days Ahead For News Publishers
Many respondents understood both the importance of and the difficulties faced by independent journalists—73 percent believed that accurate journalism is key to the maintenance of a healthy democracy, 79 percent responded that news organizations do not get enough money from online advertising to support themselves and 44 percent expressed concern that media businesses face difficulty earning money.
Despite this, many are not willing to actively support news organizations monetarily. More than half of those surveyed claim not to see the point in paying for news when they can get the same content for free, and just 8 percent felt socially or morally obliged to pay for unbiased and independent journalism.