Craig Newmark survey says most people say trustworthiness is top priority when looking for political news sources; few get news from social media
As the nation gears up for a general election in November that has already turned negative, Craigslist and craigconnects founder Craig Newmark today released the results of a survey showing that Americans aren’t always sure where to find political and election news they can trust.
The survey of likely voters detailed their attitudes about what they look for in a news outlet, the trustworthiness of news outlets, and the effect of social media on news quality. Despite the proliferation of social media, most people still aren’t getting their hard political news from these sources. An infographic detailing the survey results can be found on craigconnects.org, Newmark’s personal, Web-based initiative to support philanthropy, public service, and organizations getting results in both areas.
“I’m not in the news business and I won’t tell anybody how to do their job,” Newmark said. “But I am a news consumer and I’d like to know I can trust the news I’m getting.’
Conducted as part of his craigconnects initiative, the survey found:
- Voters look for trustworthiness above all other characteristics in a source of election news, with 49% calling it the most important quality in a news outlet
- Only 6% said a news outlet’s ability to be first with a story was valued above all other; in-depth analysis was the second most-valued quality at 23%.
- There appears to be no single type of news outlet voters find most trustworthy. Among cable news, network news, newspapers, talk radio, Internet new sites, and blogs and social media – the traditional news outlets scored highest in terms of perceived credibility compared to newer and less traditional media.
- Less than 25% described any source of election news as very credible; Newspapers scored the highest with 22% with cable and network TV news at 21%. Talk radio, often cited as influential on political news, scored only 13%. Non-traditional media such as Internet news sites, and blogs and social media sites, scored #13 and 6%, respectively.
“Most people aren’t getting hard election news from social media,” Newmark said. “Tech folks and early adapters are, but not most people, not yet.”
But he pointed out that Interest-based efforts hold great promise for helping ensure trustworthiness and boosting public confidence in news reporting. “It’s called fact-checking, and there are a lot of good people working on it,” he said. “They’re looking at ways to help the news media hold candidates and other public figures accountable for what they tell the public. So far it’s hard, and it’s not inexpensive, but it’s really important.”
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