Local broadcast earns trust

By on Oct, 22 2014 with Comments 0

Survey / PollThe latest survey from Harris Polls is out, and it has good news for local newscasters when it comes to trustworthiness. But no medium blows the doors off when measured this way.

Local television is #1, with 53% trusting it a lot and 53% trusting it some for a general trustworthiness rating of 78%. The 25% assessment was tops among all media measured for the survey.

Next is newspaper, at 76% overall trustworthiness, and radio, at 73%.

No other medium made it into the 70s. Online sites of traditional news outlets was #4 with 67%, followed by cable and national newspapers, tied at 66%, network TV at 65% and online only at 61%.

Medium A lot Some Not much None Trust net
Local TV 25 53 12 6 78
Local Nwspr 21 55 13 6 76
Radio 16 57 14 6 73
Online/trad 17 50 18 9 67
Cable 15 51 18 9 66
Natl Nwspr 17 50 19 8 66
Net TV 17 48 19 11 65
Online only 11 50 21 11 61
Source: Harris Poll

Age is most certainly a factor – the 69+ demographic is very happy with local news sources in general but not convinced whatsoever when it comes to internet only, which is trusted by a mere 45%.

The story is reversed among 18-37 respondents, who generally fall in line with overall results but at the same time are least trusting of local. Their least trusted source is network TV – the two age groups in the middle surprisingly are the most trusting of internet only sources.

Medium 18-37 38-49 50-68 69+
Local TV 71 79 84 82
Local Nwspr 71 75 81 78
Radio 67 72 80 70
Online/trad 64 69 71 65
Cable 60 68 71 71
Natl Nwspr 65 66 70 60
Net TV 57 66 72 65
Online only 63 65 63 45
Source: Harris Poll

And yes, politics is a factor. As a rule Democrats trust the news they are getting the most and independents the least, with Republicans in the middle. The exception is online, where only 53% of Republicans are trusting compared to 60% of independents. 70% of Democrats trust the medium by contrast.

Medium Rep Dem Ind
Local TV 80 85 75
Local Nwspr 76 83 72
Radio 71 79 70
Online/trad 70 71 64
Cable 68 73 60
Natl Nwspr 62 77 61
Net TV 60 79 56
Online only 53 70 60
Source: Harris Poll

Harris added some additional color to the survey results. It said, “One might expect that today’s 24-hour news cycle should have room for everything. When the news never stops coming, it stands to reason that there’s sufficient bandwidth to leave no topical stone unturned… in theory. But of course, that doesn’t mean that every sort of story gets the same level of coverage. When provided with several types of news stories and asked which are under-, over-, or appropriately covered, three-fourths of U.S. adults (76%) say celebrity gossip/scandal stories are over-covered, while half (49%) say the same about general entertainment news and 44% believe sports news gets too much coverage. And perhaps the midterms are to blame, but a third of Americans (33%) feel U.S. elections are over-covered in U.S. news media.”

Harris continued, “Looking at the other end of the coverage spectrum, nearly half of Americans feel humanitarian issues in the U.S. (47%) and education (also 47%) are under-covered. Over four in ten also identify science (45%), government corruption/political scandals (44%), and corporate corruption/white collar crime (42%), while a third say the same of global/international humanitarian issues (33%) and three in ten feel health (30%) stories are under-represented.”

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About The Author: RBR+TVBR has been reporting on the business of broadcasting for nearly three decades. Beholden to no one, it is independently owned.

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