Trust in business and Government has gone up in the last year, while trust in media seems to be declining across the board — this is the latest finding of the latest annual Edelman Trust Barometer survey. Take a look at the executive report and see that:
Trust in traditional media is trending downward:
- TV news dropped by 20 points
- radio news dropped by 17 points
- print news dropped by 12 points
Trust in digital media is still pretty low, and although corporate communications are trending higher than social networks, they’re still not that high.
We’ve all witnessed the decline of stretched news organizations in credibility, especially during momentous events in the last couple of years — like the Iran election protest reports, citizens reporting bombings in Mumbai, earthquake-alerts in California. In those instances, first person reports by networked individuals — on Twitter and blogs — leaped ahead of news coverage. For now, it seems to stay ahead.
However, there is another piece of information in the report that could give us some insights into what’s going on — peer recommendations. Trust in those has declined by 20 points as well. Why? Is it the uncertainty of the times? Is it also possible that we’re not trusting both the media and our peers much for the same reason?
It’s no secret that news organizations have been one and the same with corporations, which in many cases makes them think in the same way. It’s also no secret that many corporations are taking to social media and networks with the same gusto they’ve used in other digital media — to push their messages out, with little in the way of community-centered thinking.
From the report, it looks like the 4,875 people Edelman interviewed prefer to go directly to the source: company information. It’s much easier to know the information is crafted from the corporate point of view when they do that. Much more difficult to tell when it’s muddled via “peers”.
I disagree with what Tom Foremski noted at ZDNet, here’s why:
- agencies that are serious about helping their clients understand and implement social media ethically will be able to help companies that are serious about integrity utilize these tools to connect with customers and prospects
- ditto for knowledgeable consultants — marketers, communicators, PR professionals who get social media
- ditto for start-ups that developed monitoring tools, although many will need to quickly add something that will differentiate their tools or they’ll end up competing only on the basis of price, and you know what happens in that case
And here’s a fresh thought thrown in here for good measure: how about monitoring tools for stories the media is looking to cover? Let’s get some help to become broader in how we write and deliver news coverage. If marketers are utilizing automation software to track user behavior with content, why aren’t news organizations tracking stories with the same zeal?
I’m talking about broadening the scope from just monitoring news wire services for press releases, and/or taking advantage of the same services everyone else uses to truly leveraging social media and digital networks to track stories — and link to stories by others, a habit that has not formed, yet.
Maybe such tool exists. Journalists and reporters are invited to set the record straight in the comments. Or maybe there’s no money in creating such tool, as media companies already have their “channels” to get information and don’t case about monitoring.
The silver lining in the report rests with academics and experts like industry analysts. Do we think they are not subject to the partiality of those who pay their fees?
© 2006-2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.