New studies suggest that efforts to bring transparency to media — including attempts by journalists to publicly defend their work, media literacy campaigns, more transparent funding and improved fact-checking partnerships — have helped the media recover a bit of trust with the public after hitting an all-time low in 2016.
The big picture: Transparency works. Even in areas where journalists and media companies never thought they needed to be so explicit, an effort to more clearly explain how their companies operate is helping.
The other side: While trust in the news media has recovered slightly since 2016, it still remains low compared to decades of prior research conducted by Gallup. This could be affected by the larger trends affecting confidence in many major U.S. institutions, which began to decline in 2005, per Gallup.
Driving the news: A new and first-of-its kind study from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication suggests that journalists can actually increase trust in the media by speaking out in defense of their profession while also doing more fact checking.
The study finds that when journalists don't fight back against a disproportionate number of attacks on their profession, consumers assume that they are conceding the point that they're biased.
Mike Caulfield, head of the Digital Polarization Initiative at the American Democracy Project, writes that "teaching media literacy works, and it helps mitigate the small mistakes that lead media consumers to radicalization."
To his point, a study last month from the News Co/Lab at Arizona State University found that those who trust the news are more likely to be able to spot fake news online.Read Full Article