Trust is the new watchword in the media

CHICAGO: According to a new study by Golin/Harris International, major media outlets are increasingly focusing on stories that involve trust across a broad spectrum of business, government, and social organizations.

CHICAGO: According to a new study by Golin/Harris International, major media outlets are increasingly focusing on stories that involve trust across a broad spectrum of business, government, and social organizations.

Golin, looking at 12 major publications, found more than 900 articles mentioning trust published in May, a 23% jump from May 2001. Mention of trust issues had been up 18% in April, and 14% from January through March when compared with the same period last year.

"Discussions of trust are really being brought into the foreground by the wave of controversies that are in the headlines, said Mark Rozeen, director of research at Golin.

STORIES MENTIONING TRUST ISSUES
The following percentages represent how often trust is mentioned in all
articles covering a certain topic:
14% General business
11% Government/politics
11% General/miscellaneous
10% Financial services
9% Foreign affairs
9% Catholic Church crisis
7% 9-11/war on terrorism
6% Health/science
5% Jurisprudence/public safety
5% Middle East conflict
5% Environment/ecology
5% Sports, showbiz, pop culture
3% Religion in general
SOURCE: Golin/Harris TrustPulse review of May 2001 press coverage in 12
major US print outlets.
Two categories of trust issues are evident, he said. One involves ethical issues; the other involves a company or group's ability to perform as expected.

The survey found that 14% of general business stories, 11% of government stories, and 10% of financial-services stories mentioned trust.

The survey's implication for PR people, Rozeen said, is that "we as communication counselors have an obligation to make sure we don't take the issues of trust for granted."

A second implication is that "even companies that perceive themselves as not having trust issues will be affected by it, he said. An example is how issues of trust that arose from Andersen's involvement with Enron are now overshadowing the entire accounting profession, Rozeen pointed out.

Trust "really has the potential to be one of those defining issues that will become a filter through which people will judge their relationships with the institutions they deal with, he added.

Golin looked at Business-Week, the Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Fortune, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today, US News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

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