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Fake news increases trust in traditional media: Survey

Results released from part two of global communication company Ogilvy Media’s Influence’s annual global survey of more than 250 reporters and producers found that the rise in reports of “fake news” has elevated trust in traditional media.

This goes contrary to prevailing sentiment that the recent deluge of misinformation has eroded trust in legacy media sources.

The survey found that journalists worldwide agree that better reporting – such as comprehensive fact-checking and citing credible sources – is necessary to combat fake news.

Social media is a culprit

The results identify social media as a key catalyst of the fake news phenomenon, further illuminating the findings of the first half of the Ogilvy Media Influence survey, released in June 2017, in which Facebook had emerged as the new number one media gatekeeper.

“The fragmentation of media has dramatically multiplied how consumers get their news, posing both a challenge and an opportunity for brands to tell their stories,” said Jennifer Risi, worldwide chief communications officer at Ogilvy.

“If brands want to compete in a fake-news environment, they must communicate and build trust with consumers, leveraging the trifecta of traditional, digital and social media platforms to tell their stories in a way that is authentic and true to their brand,” she added.

Key findings:

More than half of journalists worldwide (52 per cent) find traditional media to be the most trusted news sources, followed by company websites and press releases (22 per cent).

For the EMEA region, Traditional media garnered 47 per cent trust, while company websites and press releases received 22 per cent.

The current political climate has changed the way journalists have reported stories in the past 12 months. In EMEA, it was found that 41 per cent of journalists have altered their reporting based on the political climate.

Globally, journalists believe social media (25 per cent), polarised media coverage (14 per cent) and confirmation bias (14 per cent) have contributed the most to the rise of fake news. Reporters in EMEA (14 per cent) and Asia Pacific (17 per cent) also believe money is a contributing factor to its rise.

“The threat of alternative facts and fake news is real, but the survey findings are a welcome indication that earned media is resilient and remains a cornerstone in modern communications programs,” Risi added.