Essay on Public Trust in the Media

Published: 2021/12/02
Number of words: 726


With the rising developments in terms of technology, communication through the media has become an almost basic part of everyone’s life. People spend an average of 25hours per week watching television, reading newspapers, listening to radios or sending messages in the popular social media platforms. Children on the other hand spends and equal amount of time on televisions as they spend in school or with their friends and families. Considering the huge amount of time spent on media, do people really trust the information they get and the sources of these information? The specific factors that lead to trust or mistrust in the media however, vary on the topic. For instance, some consumers prefer news on politics, weather, or business. Others base their preference on in-depth reporting and details while for some entertainment is more important. These factors can be looked into in three categories as is be discussed below. These include trust in the channel used to relay the message across, trust in the source of the message or journalist and trust in the message or content itself. I strongly perceive that the media is not 100 percent trustworthy and therefore should not be relied on. Its contents are usually controversial. For example, one thing said by a journalist in a media station about an insecurity situation can be said differently by an independent source on social media leaving the general public confused on which source to trust.

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Trust in The Media

Trust in the media channels refers to people’s perception on the different forms of media such as radio, televisions, internet and social media. Generally, people prefer traditional forms of media such as broadcast and print media as compared to social media and internet. This is because most of the time, individuals have other motives other than conveying information in the internet and social media platforms. Some create content that are not true to gain popularity, others simply to mislead people while some are politically biased. After polling 18,000 people in 9 countries including U.S, UK and Germany, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism together with YouGov, came up with findings that 34 percent of the respondents in the U.S. cited that their mistrust on media was due to political biasness.

Trust in The Source

Another factor is how much people trust the source of a particular message. Some people prefer to listen to political news in as specific media station because either they support their preferred candidate(biasness) or because of their high credibility. Some consumers also prefer to believe newspaper news rather than those posted on social media. The journalists being humans are also susceptible to biasness thus might support certain topics or political views thus rendered unreliable.

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Trust in The Message

Thirdly, trust in the message relayed also known as information credibility is the extent to which consumers render the information true or believable is an important predictor of the consumers next action. Because large scale creation is one of ways of content creation in social networks, readers sometimes consider user-generated content as unreliable source of information because they are content creators and not content reviewers. Social media platforms lack professional gatekeepers to control the content that is made available to consumers therefore it is common to find unverified and falsified information flooding these platforms. This leaves traditionally made information as most preferred (Tsfati & Cappella., 2003).

In summary, the reasons as to why people would trust the media or not are diverse but can be mainly viewed in three categories that include, the medium used to convey the message, the source of the message and the message itself. All of these categories present reasons that are valid and that would influence one’s trust or mistrust on the media. The public’s trust is an important factor that should be considered by the media personnel and stakeholders as it influences the end relationship between them and the public.


Tsfati, Y., & Cappella, J. N. (2003). Do people watch what they do not trust? Exploring the association between news media skepticism and exposure. Communication Research30(5), 504-529.

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