How to restore trust? Look to traditional journalism tenets

A new study reveals Australians value accuracy and objectivity, not necessarily friendliness and accessibility, in news.

 

Trust and News Media in Australia
University of Technology Sydney
September 25, 2018

Researchers at the Centre for Media Transition at USTA had a hypothesis: Australians want “their news media to be more peer-to-peer, and less top-down.” After extensive study groups (including written work and open-ended discussions) with 34 people, researchers found people want media sources to be accurate, in the public interest and objective — but not “like a friend.”

The survey included four workshops in Tamworth and Sydney where researchers asked participants about their views on news and the media. In one exercise, the participants ordered attributes important to them in a news source. Here’s how they ranked.

  1. Accurate
  2. In the public interest
  3. Objective
  4. Diverse
  5. Transparent
  6. Easy to access
  7. Vulnerable
  8. Timely
  9. Interactive
  10. More positive
  11. Visual
  12. Less “voice of god”
  13. Like a friend

Researchers found trust topped participants’ “ideal news media” wishlists. In another exercise, researchers explained six different methods and strategies news outlets use to build trust. The top two preferred by participants? Going behind the story (exemplified in the workshop by De Correspondent — learn more about how the Fresno Bee is incorporating it, too) and adding clean labels for news comment and advertising.

Study Details:

  • The study was conducted by the Centre for Media Transition at UTS, and funded by Facebook as part of its APAC News Literacy initiative.
  • Thirty-four people participated in the workshops. They ranged from 17 to 68 years old, and equally split older than and younger than 35.