Not all media trust is equal: study

Traditional media is seen as more trustworthy, but skepticism varies across provinces and demographics.

Traditional media – print, television and radio – tend to be trusted more than digital news. But how much people trust that news varies greatly across regions and demographics.

That’s according to a new report by Media Technology Monitor (MTM), which analyzes the role of fake news and trust in disseminating information to the masses.

Out of 4,163 Canadians who were surveyed this past spring, 72% gave traditional media a trust score between seven and 10 when it comes to receiving news from that medium over online platforms. Behind this, 20% of Canadians are willing to trust independent online news sites for their news content over social media and alternative media.

The study highlighted that nearly 60% of Canadians consumed local, national or international news on a daily basis. However, the way Canadians consume that news has changed drastically over the last five years. In fall 2013, Canadian TV channels and online news were neck-and-neck at 60% consumption. Five years later, TV remains unchanged at 60%, while online news consumption has increased to 74%.

Women, people with university educations and older Canadians over-indexed when it comes to having a high level of trust in mainstream media. On the other hand, younger Canadians, specifically those with a high school education or lower, have a low level of trust with information they receive from traditional media. A group with a high level trust for news from social and alternative media was visible minorities and people from smaller communities, as well as less affluent Canadians.

The study also showed that the highest level of skepticism towards independent online news sources was found in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The report showed that although over 70% Canadians consider Twitter and Facebook to be news sources, only 11% (for Twitter) and 15% (for Facebook) trust the information they receive on the platforms.