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News 10 reasons why trust in media is at all-time low

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Believe it or not, the list contains some good news for journalism

‚ÄčTrust in the news media has been dropping for decades, and a survey out in January 2018 confirmed that downward drift.

But the Gallup/Knight Foundation Survey on Trust, Media and Democracyreveals major upsides:

  • More than 80 percent of American adults consider the news media critical or very important to democracy.
  • Americans have the greatest trust in national network news and local and national newspapers to provide mostly accurate and balanced news.
  • Three out of four respondents share journalists' worry about the spread of inaccurate information on the internet.

That said, the survey also found major challenges facing not only newsrooms but also the public. For example, 58 percent said that the explosion of news sources makes it harder to be well-informed because of the effort needed to sort through what was true or important. Only four in 10 were confident of their ability to discern fact from opinion. And the public's definition of "fake news" ranged from portraying false information as if it were true to portraying politicians in a negative light.

The challenge facing journalism? Do the job better:

While eight in 10 Americans think the news media are important to democracy, only one in three have a very or somewhat favorable view of the job journalists are doing. 

And for a rising percentage of the public, the news media are not doing a good job separating fact from fiction. In 1984, the number was 42 percent; in the current survey, it's 66 percent.

The public was evenly split on a core question: Who is primarily responsible for making sure the public gets accurate and politically balanced information? Half said the news media and half said individuals themselves.

Story published on 1/20/2018 ; last modified on  
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Journalists have good reasons to take a close look at the latest survey of Americans' attitudes toward the news media. It's not all bad news, and it includes insights worth noting.

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