Confidence in US television news hits 20-year low

American’s confidence in television news is at its lowest since 1990, according to the latest figures from Gallup.

The organisation interviewed 1,020 adults for its annual Confidence in Institutions survey. Only 22 per cent of respondents said they had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in television news; 25 per cent said the same for newspaper news.

While the figures have remained pretty stable from 2007 onwards, confidence in television news 10 years ago was at 36 per cent and newspapers 37 per cent.

Newspapers and television news were in the bottom half of the rankings for the 16 institutions in the Gallup poll: newspapers came in 10th and television news 12th, above only “big business”, “organised labour”, “congress” and “Health Maintenance Organisations”.

With nearly all news organizations struggling to keep up with the up-to-the-minute news cycle and to remain profitable in the process, Americans’ low trust in newspapers and television news presents a critical barrier to success. The Pew report asserts that 80 per cent of new media links are to legacy newspapers and broadcast networks, making clear that traditional news sources remain the backbone of the media. But so long as roughly three in four Americans remain distrustful, it will be difficult to attract the large and loyal audiences necessary to boost revenues.

American’s Confidence in Newspapers and Television News by Age

(% “great deal”/”quite a lot”)

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