Who can you trust these days?

Yesterday’s news

Trust is bleeding away from the world’s leading media brands

It’s not news that newspapers are losing ad income in an increasingly fragmented media marketplace.  Last year in the US, for example, newspaper advertising revenues (for both print and online) declined by over 10 per cent.

With the sluggish economy – and the disruptive effects of new media –  it’s no surprise newspapers are struggling to maintain income.  But trust is also slipping through the newspapermen’s fingers.

The  New Scientist (£) cites research from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press that shows a strong decline in trust in recent years.  In 1985, 55% of people thought the US media got its facts right.  In 2010 this had fallen to 25%.

This loss of trust is not confined to the lower end of the market.  Quality names – like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times each recorded lower marks for ‘believability’.  77% of people gave the WSJ top marks for believability in 2002; a decade later only 58% were prepared to do so.  The New Times score dropped from 62% in 2002 to just 49% in 2012.

With the Internet and social media offering so many competing versions of ‘truth’, you might have expected established media brands to gain, as people turned to them to find reliable sources they can trust.

Fallout from the Leveson Inquiry – and recent revelations about The Sun’s disgraceful handling of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster – can only further erode trust.

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