NEWSPAPERS like the Irish News remain by far the most trusted source for local news and information, way ahead of search engines and social media, according to new research.
The survey by YouGov, commissioned by Local Media Works, is seen as proving yet more compelling evidence of a resurgence of trust in traditional media outlets as the public become increasingly aware of the dangers associated with social platforms and fake news.
And the findings coincide with latest analysis from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), which reveal that the Irish News is not only the best-performing daily newspaper in Northern Ireland for the fourth year running, but is also the top-performing of all UK dailies with a 20,000-plus circulation.
Across the January-December period in 2017, the Irish News achieved a daily (actively purchased) sale of 35,112, which is only slightly down (1.7 per cent) on 2016.
Irish News editor Noel Doran said: "These figures reflect our continued investment in agenda-setting cutting-edge journalism in areas like news, politics, business, health and education, and our relentless focus on keeping readers well-informed.”
The paper's marketing manager John Brolly added: "It is refreshing to see the strong performance of the Irish News and equally the strong element of trust that people have in local news brands such as ours.
"The recent rebrand of our Saturday edition as 'Weekend', with increased food, travel, sport and opinion, has been particularly well received by readers."
The Local Media Works research found that local newspapers in print and digital are more than three times more trusted for local news and information than social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
UK local newspapers, which are read by 42 million adults in print and digital, scored highest for trust with 74 per cent of respondents agreeing that they trusted the news and information in their local newspaper.
Local papers are the most trusted of all the other sources, coming ahead of local commercial TV and local commercial radio (both 73 per cent), search engines (43 per cent), social media (22 per cent) and other websites (39 per cent).
Local Media Works chairman Craig Nayman said: “This survey provides yet more compelling evidence of a resurgence of trust in traditional media outlets, with local media leading the way, as the public become increasingly aware of the dangers associated with social platforms and fake news.
“In the current climate, trust is at a premium and advertisers large and small must recognise the clear advantages of partnering with local media in order to communicate with their audiences in a safe, trusted, and highly effective environment.”
The YouGov findings echo those of the recent Edelman Trust Barometer 2018 which found that trust in traditional media in the UK is at its highest level in six years (up 13 points to 61 per cent) while trust in social platforms has dropped to 24 per cent and trust in search engines has dropped to 47 per cent.