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Survey: Majority of journalists globally believe public has lost trust in media but UK reporters say ‘fake news’ not top issue for media industry

By Freddy Mayhew

A majority of journalists globally (71 per cent) believe the public has lost trust in in the media and that accuracy is more important than speed when it comes to stories, new survey results show.

More than half (56 per cent) of the 1,355 journalists polled by Cision for its State of the Media 2018 report also agreed that so-called “fake news” is making readers more sceptical about the content they read.

The survey asked journalists from across six countries – the UK (43), US (842), Canada (197), France (43), Germany (50) and Sweden (180) – about their perceptions of the media and communications industries.

UK reporters placed the most emphasis on accuracy over speed in reporting, with 81 per cent of respondents saying that ensuring content was accurate was the top priority for their news organisation. Lowest was Germany with just over half (52 per cent) of those polled agreeing.

When it comes to fake news only 19 per cent of UK journalists said it was the top challenge facing the industry, but just over half (51 per cent) said fake news was making readers more sceptical about what they read.

Well over a third of UK journalists (37 per cent) said social networks and search engines “bypassing traditional media” had been the biggest test for the media industry over the past 12 months.

And one fifth (26 per cent) said changes to social media algorithms, as happened recently on Facebook, will be the most disruptive technology when it comes to their work, against 34 per cent globally.

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Like their international peers, UK journalists trust press releases, with 54 per cent ranking them as the most reliable brand news source – although this is the lowest out of the six countries surveyed.

Journalists agreed that a clear news hook in a press release was the best way to get a journalist’s attention.

Cision conducted its State of the Media Survey from February 1 to 28 2018. Surveys were emailed to Cision Media Database members who were vetted to verify their positions as media professionals and bloggers.

The survey was also available to media professionals in the PR Newswire for Journalists database.

Of the journalists surveyed globally, 651 are in print, 208 work in broadcast, 267 work for an online-only news outlet, 194 identified as personal bloggers or freelances and 35 work for a social media platform.

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