Survey: 18 per cent trust national press to tell the truth, tabloids less trusted than estate agents - Press Gazette

Survey: 18 per cent trust national press to tell the truth, tabloids less trusted than estate agents

A YouGov poll for Royal Charter-backed press regulator Impress suggests trust in national newspaper journalism has halved over the last ten years.

The survey asked how much people trusted journalists on red-top tabloids, mid-market tabloids and up-market titles to tell the truth. The average total for national newspapers was 18 per cent.

According to Impress when the same question was asked by YouGov in May 2006, 37 per cent said they trusted national newspaper journalists to tell the truth.

The body said that in July 2011, at the height of the phone-hacking scandal, the same trust measure of national newspapers to tell the truth stood at 19 per cent.

The latest poll was carried out online between 29 and 30 November 2016. The sample size was 1,578 adults.

Respondents were asked what words and phrases they would use to describe the British press.

The most popular responses were as follows:

  • Liars/untrustworthy/unreliable: 12 per cent
  • Exaggerated/sensationalist/fake: 11 per cent
  • Biased: 9 per cent
  • Calling them a negative name (eg. scum): 7 per cent
  • Intrusive/invasive: 6 per cent
  • In it for headlines/sales: 4 per cent.

The more positive responses included the following:

  • Good: 2 per cent
  • Okay: 2 per cent
  • Informative/investigative: 2 per cent
  • Free/freedom of speech: 2 per cent.

The survey asked respondents how much they trusted various groups of people to tell them the truth. The totals were as follows:

  • Family doctors: 87 per cent
  • School teachers: 79 per cent
  • Judges: 74 per cent
  • Senior police officers: 58 per cent
  • Journalists on upmarket newspapers: 36 per cent
  • Journalists on local newspapers: 36 per cent
  • Trade union leaders: 28 per cent
  • Estate agents: 15 per cent
  • Politicians: 13 per cent
  • Journalists on mid-market newspapers: 11 per cent
  • Journalists on red-top tabloids: 7 per cent.

Some 70 per cent of respondents said newspapers should be members of an independent press regulator.

And some 73 per cent said they would most trust a regulator which was independent of the Government and newspaper publishers – versus 3 per cent who said they would trust a regulator set up by newspaper publishers.

Some 51 per cent of respondents said newspapers should be required by law to join an independent press regulator.

Only 9 per cent said they were confident that they could afford to take a newspaper to court if they were personally harmed by it


Chief executive of Impress Jonathan Heawood said: “People do not trust the press to regulate itself and they cannot afford to take news publishers to court. They want to see independent press regulation as Lord Justice Leveson recommended.”


A similar survey by Ipsos MORI asked if people “generally trust” various groups of people to tell the truth.

Nurses and doctors scored top, with journalists near the bottom of the pile (trusted by 24 per cent) – with only government ministers and politicians generally lower.

Television news readers were however said to be trusted by 67 per cent of the population.

The Ipsos MORI survey was carried out on 1,019 British adults between 14 October and 1 November 2016.




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4 thoughts on “Survey: 18 per cent trust national press to tell the truth, tabloids less trusted than estate agents”

  1. Possibly related – the National Centre of Social Research asked 5000 adults about their experience of mental health and found that 18 percent of adults reported having experienced a mental illness but not having been diagnosed.

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