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1 February 2016

Trust Barometer 2016: Bad news is good news for traditional media

Written by: Ursula Hirschkorn, Senior Writer at Edelman

Media, Trust

Coming from the world of traditional media, by which I mean that old-fashioned stuff, words printed on paper, it is easy to be despondent about the future.

Sometimes it can seem as if the writing is on the wall for the writer, that our craft will be consigned to a footnote in history along with chimney sweeps and lamp lighters, particularly when entire news stories can be cobbled together from comments on Twitter. Social media looks set to destroy values like research and a well-crafted story in favour of knee jerk reactions from the general populace.

Paradoxically, moving out of the world of traditional media and into the one of communications marketing at Edelman has given me cause to hope that rumours of the death of ‘proper’ journalism have been exaggerated.

Just a few days after I started at Edelman, after a long career in consumer journalism that spanned everything from bench testing computers for Computeractive to stress testing my cat for the Daily Mail, the company held its annual to gaze into the future. I was heartened to see that one of the predictions for 2016 was a resurgence in traditional media and even a rise in print sales.

There was more good news in the recent Edelman Trust Barometer as it turns out that when times are tough and the world is plagued by bad news, people are turning to the trusty traditional media as an accurate and trusted news source.

The ‘informed public’, for which read better off, university educated people with an interest in current affairs, has never had more faith in traditional media. With 70% trusting this source as the most reliable, this is the highest level ever recorded the Trust Barometer.

As traditional media tie themselves up in knots over how to respond to the perceived threat of social media, it has been a refreshing change to move over to the so-called ‘dark side’ of communications where there is no such crisis of faith. While clients are always happy with mentions in social media, and no one would say no to an award winning viral campaign, what many still want to see is their name in print or on mainstream broadcasters.

It seems that this desire is spot on. For when it comes to putting trust in media as a source of information 70% of respondents to the Trust Barometer chose traditional media such as the FT, the BBC, ITV and Sky News. Conversely only 39% of the informed public trust social media.

Perhaps that is why it felt like a good time to make the shift from journalism into communications as my stock in trade has always been a way with words, the ability to weave a compelling story that will touch the emotions and prompt action. These are all very useful skills within the walls of Edelman, particularly given its growing commitment to developing specialist expertise to deliver excellence in all forms of content.

On a more personal note as a regular writer for the Daily Mail’s Femail, it is a delight to be valued for my abilities with words, not my capacity to attract many and varied comments on the MailOnline.

To view the findings of the UK Trust Barometer 2016, please click here.

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