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Low levels of trust in American media present opportunity for bloggers and citizen journalists

99park—TwoCee

Illustration by Greg Storey

July 28, 2021

A recent Reuters report found that only 29% of Americans trust “most news most of the time,” putting the U.S. at the bottom of the list of 46 countries surveyed. 

According to this Press Gazette article, America was one of the only countries on the list that’s trust levels did not increase since a 2020 report on the same topic. While percentages of American trust increased in local news and varied by source, the results were still concerningly low.

And while these statistics are concerning on several levels, they can also be taken as a positive opportunity for bloggers and citizen journalists to step up as reliable news sources.

The Reuters study found that, of all of the different networks and types of news that were subject to research, “local TV news scored highest, with a 58% trust score in the U.S.” 

This leaves a huge void for individuals blogging or freelance news-writing on specific issues nationally and globally to fill. It also grants more confidence to people writing on local issues that—if they are drawing from local news sources for information—their content is more likely to be trusted.

The study also found that, naturally, people tended to trust their network of choice more than other stations, and that cable news was generally the least trusted.

There are a variety of reasons people don’t trust cable news, namely the partisan overtones that have come to dominate it in the last several years. Something that bloggers have more leeway with as individual writers is injecting opinion into their writing. 

And, as the study points to, American audiences tend to gravitate towards the news sources that align with their own opinions anyway. So, if a citizen journalist is reporting and drawing their own conclusions from the news, like-minded individuals are likely to follow and support their writing.

Nevertheless, an increase in objective reporting by individuals online may be where the real jackpot is. The potential for individuals to start their own news publications through blogs, podcasts and other platforms has never been higher since so many Americans are averse to typical cable sources. 

While the temptation to inject one’s own opinion is often irresistible, even separating your thoughts into news and commentary sections can make all the difference in reaching a wider audience.

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