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Home » “Perception that journalists create spin”: Trust in news publishers continues to fall | What’s New in Publishing

“Perception that journalists create spin”: Trust in news publishers continues to fall | What’s New in Publishing

A new report by live blogging and video platform Tickaroo reveals an increase in news being consumed on mobile, a reduction in attention spans with shorter-form content and a decrease in political news consumption. Crucially, overall trust in news continues to decline.

Tickaroo, the live blogging and video platform, has released a new report that carefully examines the news and media habits of 2,000 UK adults aged 18 through 55+.

A crucial finding is that trust in news publishers continues to fall, with the majority of respondents either ‘not trusting the news very much’ (31%), ‘retaining some scepticism’ (55%), or ‘hardly trusting the news at all’ (8%).

Spin, misreporting, and fake news

According to Tickaroo’s research, the reasons for not trusting news are varied. The most common reason cited was the perception that journalists create spin (43%), followed shortly by misreporting (42%), and a third were concerned about fake news (34%) although the definition of what constitutes fake news continues to be a point of conjecture.

The research dovetails with U.S. research that shows that confidence in newspapers has plummeted to an all-time low according to a Gallup survey of trust in U.S. institutions.

It was also a theme echoed by Rasmus Klein, Director of Reuters Institute and Professor of Political Communication at Oxford University, at last year’s WAN-IFRA World News Media Congress in Zaragoza.

In a bid to help publishers combat the decline in audience trust, Trusting News – a project of the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) and American Press Institute (API) – earlier this month launched Trust Kits, a series of step-by-step guides for publishers to demonstrate credibility and actively earn trust. 

Short-form content increases as audience attention spans decline

Tickaroo’s research also found that attention spans are continuing to decrease, with a fifth of UK news readers spending less than two minutes reading (21%) a news article. Compared to previous YoY data, the average ideal length of an article has decreased from 368 words to 346 words.

A quarter of UK adults also now prefer an article to be 100-299 words long (24%) – a further nod towards widespread decreased attention spans. There are generational differences, however, with those aged 18-34 having more diverse preferences, with the most preferred being short live news updates (26%).

Publishers and content creators need to continue to adapt

Unsurprisingly, social media news consumption nearly doubles for younger age groups, with over a quarter of those aged 18-34 saying social media is their prime source of news (24%), with only one in six of this age group turning to TV news (16%) – a strong indicator that UK consumers are increasingly turning to mobile and social media as a key news source.

Indeed, the research showed that two-fifths of UK adults now check news primarily via mobile (39%).

Publishers and content creators need to continue to adapt to evolving media habits to deliver authentic, relevant content for their target audiences. However, they are challenged by the lack of trust consumers have who are hypersensitive to fake news.

It is important for content creators to find ways to show the validity of their news stories using new reporting methods like live blogging to support their efforts.

Naomi Owusu, CEO and Co-founder, Tickaroo

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