Trust in the news slips further

04 Apr, 2023
Trust in the news slips further
The latest Trust in News report shows New Zealanders' trust in news has slipped further

The AUT research centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy (JMAD) has published its fourth Trust in News in Aotearoa New Zealand report, authored by Dr Merja Myllylahti and Dr Greg Treadwell. The 2023 report finds that general trust in the news and news brands is continuing to erode.

In 2023, general trust in news declined from 45% to 42%, continuing a downward trend that was already evident in 2020 when the survey was first conducted. However, in 2023, the trust in news people consume themselves increased from 52% to 53%.

For the first time, the survey asked about news avoidance and found news avoidance in New Zealand is at a high level, when compared internationally. While New Zealanders are interested in news, approximately 69% of us avoid news often, sometimes or occasionally.

  • ‘People are avoiding the news because they find it depressing, negative, and it is increasing their anxiety. Many people also find news repetitive, boring and overly dramatic,’ says Dr Merja Myllylahti, JMAD Co-Director and co-author of the report.

In 2023, all the major New Zealand news brands suffered a considerable decline in trust. Trust in RNZ fell 14.5%, Whakaata Māori 14.3% and Newstalk ZB 14%.Smaller brands such as, BusinessDesk and Crux were less impacted.

RNZ, the Otago Daily Times and TVNZ were equally regarded as the most trusted news brands. In 2022, RNZ was the most trusted news brand followed by the other two. In 2023, the top three were followed by, NBR, Newshub and Newsroom.

  • ‘Newsrooms must put regaining trust among their audiences at the top of their agenda for the sake of our democracy,’ says Dr Greg Treadwell, a co-author of the report.

In 2023, 23% of New Zealanders have paid for online news content or for access to online news. This is higher than an international average of 17% identified by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The Trust in Aotearoa News in New Zealand report is produced in collaboration with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. For the 2023 report, 1,120 New Zealand adults (18 years of age or over) were surveyed between February 13-18, 2023, by Horizon Research. The survey has a maximum margin of error at the 95% confidence level for the total sample of ±2.9%

Useful links