New research report shows major drop in media trust in New Zealand

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Trust in Media project researchers Dr Greg Treadwell and Dr Merja Myllylahti
Trust in Media project researchers Dr Greg Treadwell and Dr Merja Myllylahti . . . dramatic decline in trust of New Zealand's news media in five years. Image: RNZ/AUT

Pacific Media Watch

Just a third of New Zealanders now say they trust the news. That is the major finding of Auckland University of Technology’s research centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy (JMAD)’s fifth annual Trust in News in Aotearoa New Zealand report, reports RNZ News.

Trust in news in general fell from 42 percent last year to 33 percent in this year’s report — but it is a whopping 20 percentage points down from the first report in 2020 when it was at 53 percent.

All 16 news brands that were part of this survey suffered declines in trust.

The independent Dunedin newspaper Otago Daily Times (ODT) had the highest trust score, with public broadcaster RNZ and the National Business Review (NBR) tied in second place, with TVNZ, Newsroom, BusinessDesk and “other commercial radio” tied for third.

Other findings from this year’s survey: Fewer people believed the news media was independent of political influence and more said they actively avoid the news to some degree.

The survey was conducted in February just before the shock announcement that Newshub was set to close, and that TVNZ would be cutting jobs and news programmes.

Final decisions are expected from both organisations this week.

RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme Kathryn Ryan was joined by Dr Merja Myllylahti and Dr Greg Treadwell, co-authors of the report, to discuss this report.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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