Aussies Turn To Social Media For News Despite Not Trusting It As Much

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Convenience is reigning in the public news consumption battle with new research revealing a high proportion of Australians are still getting their news from online sources despite these ranking low on their trust-o-meter.

Jackie Crossman
Posted by Jackie Crossman

The latest in the Crossman Insights research series, an online Newspoll survey of more than 1275 Aussies aged 18-64 found just four in ten people (40 per cent) trust blogs and social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter and six in ten (60 per cent) online news sites not associated with newspapers. In contrast, almost eight out of ten people trust traditional forms of news media such as print newspapers (79 per cent) and TV news bulletins (also 79 per cent).

Despite the lack of trust, a third of the nation (33 per cent) is still choosing to source news online at least once a day from social media networks, blogs or independent news sites.

Moreover, while only a fifth (22 per cent) of the 50-64 age group trust social networks, over half (51 per cent) have used these to get their news updates.

Managing director of Crossman Communications, Jackie Crossman, said the future of traditional media is far from dead.

“Despite the advance of mobile and social changing how and what we read, watch and listen to, the research shows that it has not fundamentally changed who we trust. It also suggests the popularity of an online site does not necessarily mean credibility,” said Ms Crossman.

“Australians still find traditional forms of media more credible than social and online news but it is clear they are turning to online because it is more convenient, and they are spoilt for choice. If traditional media can connect more powerfully with consumers online and break through the clutter they could win back their share of the market and edge out other online news sources.”

The poll also revealed that TV current affairs programs continue to divide audiences with just 67 per cent of Australians finding them trustworthy, of which only 17 per cent trust them a lot.

Here the poll showed that three in ten 25-34 year olds (29 per cent) use social media at least once a day as a source of news rather than watch TV current affairs programs, with just two in ten claiming to do so (18 per cent).

“Audience engagement with current affairs programs seems to be relatively low compared to other forms of traditional media, particularly among the younger generation. This suggests that they could be falling behind their rivals and need to adapt if they’re to stay in the game.”

Jackie Crossman also said that despite the increasing investment in company created ‘news’ channels, branded content seems to be taking a while to stick and capture the consumer’s attention.

“While online branded content has become the new way for marketers to maximise their brand presence, the poll shows only about three in ten are likely to share either a blog, infographic, video or e-newsletter posted by brands or companies, with less than one in ten saying they would be very likely to share any of these.”

“Overall the results would suggest that traditional PR is still very much an essential part of building your brand’s credibility and consumer trust alongside digital communications.”