Print and TV 'more trustworthy' than digital media, research finds

Despite the growing proliferation of digital media, new research suggests that senior business people and politicians do not take reputational issues seriously until they appear in print or are broadcast.

On paper: few key figures take social media stories seriously
On paper: few key figures take social media stories seriously

Research by Open Road and pollster Populus reveals that traditional media remain significantly more trusted than social media by key 'opinion formers'.

The Influencing the Influencers survey interviewed 232 business people, journalists, NGO executives, MPs and 2,047 members of the public.

It found that 'opinion formers' were far more likely to respond immediately to something negative on a TV or radio programme than if it was on Facebook or Twitter.

A total of 62 per cent of the panel would respond immediately to a negative national TV or radio news story, while just 21 per cent would take a social media story seriously.

Twenty-six per cent said they used social media for tracking breaking news. But respondents were primarily using social media to follow events as they appeared in mainstream media and were much more likely to trust information once it had been verified by these sources or appeared on official websites.

'We talk about the death of the newspaper and the growing influence of social media, but this research shows that it's still traditional media that win people's trust,' said Open Road director Rebecca Reilly.

'Social media remain an important tool for reaching large audiences quickly and their influence continues to grow. However, we shouldn't overlook that while nearly a third of opinion formers use social media every day, almost half aren't using them at all.'

Elsewhere, four of the top five most respected business commentators were BBC journalists, led by Robert Peston, in both consumer and opinion former polls.

Opinion formers named print newspapers as the most trustworthy source of information for work-related issues, while consumers trusted television more than any other medium.

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