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November 1, 2018updated 30 Sep 2022 7:01am

Young audiences trust BBC less than older generation but corporation still main source of news for all ages, new Pew research finds

By James Walker

Young people in the UK are less likely to trust the BBC compared to older audiences, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

Just under three quarters of under 30s in the UK said they trusted the BBC, compared to 81 per cent of over 50s, the survey found.

Although trust in the BBC was slightly lower among younger UK audiences, the public broadcaster was still named as the main source of news for all age groups.

Broadcast regulator Ofcom said it would review the BBC’s news and current affairs output to ensure it remained a relevant and “trusted destination for audiences” when it released its first annual report on the BBC last week.

On overall trust in the media among under 30s, the Pew report said: “When it comes to the news media overall, younger Europeans – those ages 18 to 29 – trust the news media less than adults in the oldest age group (those 50 and older) in five of the eight countries in Western Europe included in this survey.

“Even while distrusting the news media at higher rates, younger adults nonetheless trust specific newspaper and magazine brands as much if not more than those older than them.”

The report also found that young people in the UK are less happy with the performance of journalists than older audiences.

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The US-based research organisation’s European-wide survey of 16,114 adults found that 61 per cent of surveyed under 30s in the UK trusted the Guardian, while 57 per cent said they trusted the Times.

The Pew research authors added that while trust in the UK press was “relatively low” in comparison to Northern European countries, younger and older age groups had similar levels of trust in the media.

The Daily Mail was found to be the least trusted of the four UK newspapers included in a survey of younger audiences, with just a quarter (26 per cent) saying they trusted the UK’s second-biggest selling newspaper.

A third of under 30s believe the media is good at being politically neutral and investigating the Government, while around two-fifths believe journalists are independent of corporate influence and good at getting facts right.

Younger audiences were also dissatisfied with UK media coverage of immigration.

Among the under 30s, 82 per cent agreed that the media is an important institution for a functioning society.

Looking at media consumption habits, Pew found that 61 per cent of UK under 30s got their news from social media on a daily basis compared to a fifth of over 50s.

The research group also discovered that 72 per cent of younger consumers got news from online sources every day, while just 35 per cent and 28 per cent accessed TV and radio news every day respectively. 

Just 10 per cent get their news from print publications on a daily basis.

Read the Pew Research survey in full.

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