Whom Do We Trust? Online News and Newspapers

TNS Survey: Blogs Still Have a Ways to Go to Earn Credibility

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Consumers don't trust personal blogs, but they trust the news they get online at least as much as what they read in newspapers, a new survey suggested this week.

Only 9% of survey respondents said they trust private blogs, according to the results of a study by TNS. But 38% said they trust online news, while just 34% said they trust newspapers.

'No real accountability'
"It's heartening to see how well online users are able to gauge their media," said Don Ryan, VP-technology and media at TNS, in a statement describing the results. "Whether using new or traditional media, trust of the source of information is paramount. Online blogs clearly have no real accountability. Although they may be a great source of entertainment and a useful source of information and reviews, they are clearly highly subjective. The move of traditional news media into the online space has ensured that the trust of traditional media has spread into online-only sources, too."

The web and newspapers, however, got the highest scores of any media included in the research. TV news has the trust of 33%, according to TNS. Product-comparison sites have the trust of 31%. And in a blow to those who believe the future of media lies in all news being available gratis, just 15% said they trust free newspapers.

Seen it offline first
Maybe part of the reason consumers trust online news is because they've seen it offline first. According to a new study from MS&L developed by its IM influencer-marketing unit, some 84% of digital influencers go online to find out more about something only after first reading about it in a magazines or newspaper or hearing about it on TV or the radio.

TNS, meanwhile, found that about 29% said they trust industry websites or industry reviews, 27% said they trust company websites, 24% trust industry magazines, 23% trust Wikipedia, 20% trust user forums or user reviews, and 18% trust company brochures.

The figures represent the percentage of online survey respondents 18 to 55 who rated their trust in various sources of information with scores of eight, nine or 10 on a scale where one meant no trust and 10 meant complete trust. The research also examined attitudes in countries beyond the U.S., including China, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.

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