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April 14, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:09am

Press Gazette poll shows half believe trust in journalism has fallen since Covid-19 outbreak

By Charlotte Tobitt

Almost half of those who responded to a Press Gazette reader poll believe public trust in journalists has fallen since the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak began.

A total of 1,068 voters responded to the poll, which asked readers if they though trust in journalism had increased during the pandemic.

Some 513 people (48 per cent) said no, it has gone down. A third (353 people) said trust in journalism has increased, while a fifth (198 people) said it was the same as before.

Coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on 11 March.

Press Gazette reported last month on a special report from Edelman’s Trust Barometer that showed journalists are the least trusted source for coronavirus updates, even though a majority of people are relying on major news organisations for information about the virus.

Now a new survey carried out by PR firm Kekst CNC has shown a collapse in confidence in the media since the outbreak began in the four countries surveyed: the UK, US, Germany and Sweden (1,000 people in each between 30 March and 3 April).

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The UK and Sweden both saw the biggest fall in confidence in the media with a net loss of 21 per cent. Confidence in the US media fell by 14 per cent, while in Germany it fell by eight per cent.

Oxford University public health expert Peter Drobac told the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism last month how public trust is “really critical at a time like this”.

“This crisis is serious. If you are a journalist, convey seriousness and severity while doing that calmly. Be authoritative without hubris. Be authoritative while recognising the uncertainty and the risk that exists.

“Whenever possible, try to inspire this notion that we are all in this together and that we need to work together to beat this thing.”

Methodology: This poll was an indicative survey of Press Gazette readers which ran on the site from Tuesday 7 April to Tuesday 14 April 2020. It used cookie-based tracking to stop readers from voting twice. Press Gazette’s readers are predominantly journalists and others who work in the news industry.

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