Traditional media and online search engines are the most trusted sources of general news and information around the world, according to the “2014 Edelman Trust Barometer.” The global survey found that 65% of “informed publics” trust traditional media (top-4 box on a 9-point scale), with an equal share trusting online search engines. Informed publics refer to college-educated adults aged 25-64 in the top quartile of household income for their respective age groups and who are significant media consumers.
Hybrid media is the next-most trusted source of general news and information, by 54% of “informed publics.” Only a minority of this group of educated individuals trust the information they find on social media (47%) and owned media (45%), though.
The study reveals that search engines not only enjoy a high level of trust, but are also an important source of business news information. “Informed publics” are more likely to turn to online search (30%) as their first source of general business information than they are to turn to newspapers (26%) or TV (21%). Moreover, search (28%) also beats TV (25%) and newspapers (20%) as the first source for breaking news about business, and is easily the most-used source used for confirming or validating information on breaking news about business (36% search; 20% TV; 19% newspapers).
Interestingly, while levels of trust in each specific form of media grew from last year, trust in media as an overall institution lost ground. Only a slight majority 52% of “informed publics” said they trust media in general to do what’s right, down from 57% a year ago. Trust in the media is particularly low in the US, falling from 51% in 2013 to 42% this year, one of the lowest levels of the 27 countries studied.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 6,000 “informed public” respondents across 27 countries; 500 each in the US and China, and 200 in each of the 25 other countries.