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Jul 11

IN THE NEWS: What news medium is most trusted by Americans?

Photo Credit: wili hybrid (flickr.com)

If you heard that Justin Bieber had died (again) what news medium would you turn to so you can verify the validity of the story? Would you go to an online news source? Would you turn on the TV? Or would you wait for a radio DJ to mention it?

According to eMarketer, research from Triton Digital found that television is still the most trusted form of media for consumers. 45% of respondents trust the news and information that is reported by TV stations. TV is followed by newspaper, then the radio. Only 1 in 8 respondents listed online news sources as their most trusted source. A “60 Minutes”/Vanity Fair poll found that 32% of respondents chose CNN as the most trustworthy news source. 29% chose Fox News.

But due to the convenience and timeliness of online news sources, traditional media has definitely suffered in terms of garnering consumer time and attention, especially radio and print. Even though the Internet was not listed as the most trustworthy source, respondents were more likely to turn to the Internet for product research and reviews during the purchase process. This means that online marketing can make the difference between consideration and an actual purchase.

The interactions between high schoolers and news mediums are interesting because there seems to be an inconsistency between what they say and what they do. The Knight Foundation conducted a survey of high schoolers and found that 92% of high schoolers say that it is important to stay informed on current news. Most turned to TV for news, followed by reading an online article, watching video news online, and lastly reading the newspaper. However, their choices do not match with the sources they believe to be the most trustworthy. Though they are least likely to read newspapers for news, 88% of respondents said that newspapers are very or somewhat truthful. 78% say that television is very or somewhat truthful. Only 34% said that social networks are very or somewhat truthful.

However, even though high school students distrust the accuracy of news disseminated via social media, 56% of teens still reported that social networks were a daily source of news and information. This is not entirely surprising to me. I follow numerous news sources on Twitter and they update their Twitter feeds every few minutes. Thanks to a tweet by a major news station, I was among the first in my network of friends to hear about bin Laden’s death.

However, the next time I see “RIP Justin Bieber” trending on Twitter again, I am still going to double check my sources…