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March 1, 2018

Local newspapers seeing ‘resurgence of trust’ as research shows they are three times more trusted than Facebook

By Charlotte Tobitt

Local newspapers are seeing a “resurgence of trust” with readers more than three times more likely to trust their local publisher than information they see on Facebook, according to new research.

Three-quarters (74 per cent) of respondents to a new survey carried out by Yougov said they trust the news and information in their local newspaper, whether online or in print.

Local commercial TV and radio stations were only fractionally behind, with a trust level of 73 per cent, while information from search engines and other websites is trusted by 43 per cent and 39 per cent of people respectively.

Social media came bottom in the poll with just 22 per cent of the 2,131 UK adults surveyed online in February agreeing they trusted the news and information they see on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Craig Nayman, chairman of Local Media Works which commissioned the survey, said: “This survey provides yet more compelling evidence of a resurgence of trust in traditional media outlets, with local media leading the way, as the public become increasingly aware of the dangers associated with social platforms and fake news.

“In the current climate, trust is at a premium and advertisers large and small must recognise the clear advantages of partnering with local media in order to communicate with their audiences in a safe, trusted, and highly effective environment.”

Local news providers ranked by trustworthiness. Picture: YouGov

The new research appears to corroborate findings from the Edelman Trust Barometer survey released last month, which found that trust in traditional media has rebounded sharply over the past year, reaching its highest level in six years.

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The survey found that trust in UK journalists increased from 19 per cent to 32 per cent, at the same time as more than half of people said they worry about being exposed to fake news on social media and trust in social platforms was at 24 per cent.

Facebook executives promised earlier this month to crack down on fake news and online fraud after Unilever threatened to pull its advertising contracts on digital platforms which “breed division”.

Facebook is currently running a trial in the US show more content from local news sources in its News Feed.

Trust in local news has now risen above the level of October 2014, when newspapers had a trust level of 64 per cent and radio and television had scores of 59 per cent and 58 respectively.

Then, Facebook was trusted by 21 per cent of people and Twitter was scored even lower at 15 per cent.

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