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Search engines are the most trusted source for general news

by: Nancy Yoshihara |

Rules of engagement in a fragmented media landscape may be in flux but search engines and traditional media remain the two most trusted sources of general news and information, according to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer.

For the fifth consecutive year, the survey showed that search engines are the most trusted followed by traditional media. For the first time online media moved up into the No. 3 spot on the most trusted media list. Owned media, generally produced by brands or companies, was fourth and social media was fifth.

"This year's data reinforces the trusted role that search and social technology platforms play in taking a fragmented landscape of published content and re-aggregating it in a fashion that often directly reflects an individual's worldview," Steven Rubel, chief content strategist, said in the executive summary of the report. "The data reinforces the need to build integrated communications programs that map the total journey stakeholders take to consume information." 

The survey found that friends and family are more trusted as content creators than journalists by more than 30 percentage points. Engagement that builds trust and audiences must take into account the full universie of today's content creators, not simply traditional media.

Survey respondents fell into two categories: elite or informed public—those with at least a college education, who are very engaged in media, and have an income in the top 25%, and the larger general population which made up 85% of the survey sample. 

Among the informed public, media made an impressive turnaround as trust increased in 20 of the 28 countries surveyed. The biggest gains were in the U.S. (16 points), Canada (14 points), UK (14 points) and Hong Kong (12 points). Trust levels for the larger general population have barely budged since the Great Depression.

Edelman’s 16th annual global survey measures  trust and credibility relating to government, business, media and nongovernmental organizations. It included 28 countries, more than 33,000 respondents consisting of 1,150 general population respondents 18 and over and 500 informed public respondents in the United States and China and 200 informed public respondents in other countries.

Nancy Yoshihara

Nancy Yoshihara is content manager at KDMC and its website with a focus on News for Digital Innovators and Tools, Tips
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