Ground Report | New Delhi: Republic TV least, NDTV most trusted; The new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) said that “indifference, not hostility, is the primary challenge journalists face when faced with the task of building trust in news.”
The Report on Overcoming Depression: What Attitudes to News Tells Us to Build Trust is the third in a series of reports from RISJ’s Trust in News Project. It is based on survey data from the US, UK, Brazil and India, and seeks to help publishers interested in building trust in news better understand their audiences.
Republic TV least, NDTV most trusted
A study has found NDTV one of India’s most trusted private TV news networks, as per the survey, 76 percent trust the information of NDTV. In India, the most polarizing brands are Republic TV/Republic Bharat (72% of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters trust but 50% of all others) and Zee News (trusted by 85% of BJP supporters compared to 63% of non-supporters).
The brands in India were DD News, Times of India, All India Radio, NDTV 24×7/NDTV India, Hindustan Times, Zee News, Aaj Tak, the Hindu, Times Now, Dainik Bhaskar, Dainik Jagran, Republic TV/Republic Bharat, Amar Ujala, the Telegraph, and Malayala Manorama.
The trust in the press is low as compared to other institutions in the society: only 25% of the respondents in India say that they trust the media completely. On the other hand, 72% say they trust the military completely—45 points higher than in Brazil, the UK and the US.
The study classifies news consumers as ‘generally untrustworthy’, ‘selectively trustworthy’, or ‘generally trustworthy’ towards specific news brands in their countries. The report specifically focused on the ‘generally unreliable’ who constitute about a quarter of the respondents in each country.
Lack of trust
People who rely least on news are older (55 years and above), less educated, less interested in politics, and less connected to urban centres. They are also more likely to be male (Brazil and India – 59%; UK – 53%; equally divided among the US).
People who don’t trust news may not necessarily be the most vocal critics of it (those who are selectively credible). They are the individuals who are “often the least knowledgeable about journalism, how it is treated, and the least interested in the editorial decisions that publishers and editors make every day.”
Generally unbelievers are also less interested in the news. Survey data shows that less frequent news access is consistently associated with less trust. People who say they watch the news less than once a day are more distrustful. In the US, 51% of the generally untrustworthy segment does not reach news, compared to 23% of the generally trustworthy ones. Comparable figures for the UK are 34% and 17%.
Conversely, confidence is highest among respondents who say they have used a particular news brand during the past week. In fact, in some cases, those who accessed news on social media had even higher levels of trust.
“A distinct challenge”
The report’s lead author, Dr. Benjamin Toff, says, “Our research shows that people who lack confidence inconsistent news are often the ones who are at least well-versed to differentiate between brands. are equipped and are less interested in doing so.” “skepticism about news sources, even disbelievers default to cynicism and most journalists have a dim view of how they do their jobs.
“Winning this large, disgruntled and disinterested audience is a distinct challenge to building trust with the loudest and often most partisan voices, usually the most vocal critics of journalism.” The report outlines a three-pronged strategy that includes communication, marketing, and addressing creative challenges.
Publishers are suggested to explore how to communicate the value of journalism in a section that is generally mistrusted – why it is important to them on an individual level, as well as to society in general. They also need to differentiate between journalism and other forms of information.