Trust in the press soars during pandemic as more turn to traditional outlets
The coronavirus has seen more people turn to traditional news outlets for information they can trust, a survey has found.
The analysis shows people’s appreciation of journalism has increased since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Two thirds of those surveyed (66%) say they “appreciate and value journalism more since the global coronavirus pandemic began”.
Among those aged under 35 the figure was even higher, with 77% saying they valued the work of journalists in providing reliable news and information.
The study World Without News reveals that young people have more faith in traditional forms of news such as papers, TV and radio than information found on social media platforms.
Seven in ten under 35s said they were less anxious about a story seen on social media once they had checked out via a trust news brand.
There is also increased public alarm at attempts to muzzle or stifle journalists from doing their job.
Some 70% of those surveyed agreed that a “world without journalism would harm democratic society” and that journalists are “important to society” by covering important topics and issues that might otherwise be overlooked.”
The research was commissioned by the organisation Newsworks in partnership with the News Media Association and Society of Editors to mark the Journalism Matters week that highlights the importance of newspapers in the UK.
Earlier this week the Queen took the unusual step of issuing a statement praising the “vital” work papers do in providing “ trusted, reliable sources of information.”
Jo Allan, managing director at Newsworks, said: “This research clearly shows the importance of trusted news and information. Journalism matters to increasingly large numbers of people who are relying on news brands more than ever, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is our biggest study to date and what has emerged is the essential and growing role news plays in bringing us together, providing us with different perspectives and helping us to understand what is happening in the world around us.”
NMA deputy chief executive Lynne Anderson said: “Trusted journalism produced by local and national news media titles is an essential part of the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“But the industry needs urgent action from Government on a number of fronts – tackling the overweening power of the tech giants, promoting verifiable news sources, and initiating targeted support initiatives – so that it can continue to perform this vital role and deliver the journalism we all want to read.”
Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors said: “It was always understood that the public supported free press and recognised the need for the mainstream media with its ability to provide well researched, balanced, correctly edited news content and the proof has been provided by the numbers in which people have turned to trusted journalism for news and information during this pandemic.
“The figures supported by this research underscore the public’s understanding of the value of the news content that the press provides in the UK.”
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