Trust in news in New Zealand research

In 2020, JMAD expanded its research activities by launching a new, ongoing research programme about trust in news at the research centre.

Trust in news in New Zealand 2021

Key findings:

  • In 2021, fewer than half of New Zealanders trusted news in general
  • General trust in news declined from 53% to 48%, and trust in the news people themselves consumed fell from 62% to 55%  
  • Trust in news found via social media and social engines also declined, with 26% of people trusting news they found via search engines, and 14% trusting news on social media
  • All news brands in New Zealand experienced erosion of trust, with statistically significant declines occurring for Newshub and Newstalk ZB
  • As in 2020, RNZ (6.8 out of 10) and TVNZ (6.6 out of 10) were the most trusted news brands, and Newshub remained the third most trusted (6.3 out of 10) news brand

Trust in news in New Zealand 2021 results (change to 2020)

  • Overall trust in news 48% (-5%)
  • Trust in news I use 55% (-7%)
  • Trust news in search 26% (-1%)
  • Trust news in social 14% (-2%)

Report, press release and podcast

Trust in news in New Zealand 2020

The first project was launched in 2019-2020, and the first report Trust in News in New Zealand was published in April 23, 2020. The report is the first with internationally comparable data of the trust in news in New Zealand, and it was produced in collaboration with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Reuters publishes annually its Digital News Report, and with the permission from Reuters, our first report used the same method and research questions as it does in its surveys. Reuters Digital News Reports are available here: http://www.digitalnewsreport.org/

Key findings

  • Compared internationally, trust in news in Aotearoa New Zealand generally is high, with 53% of people agreeing they can trust ‘most of the news most of the time’.
  • Even more New Zealanders (63%) trust the news they personally consume.
  • Trust in news consumed via social media and search engines in Aotearoa New Zealand is low when compared internationally.
  • State broadcasters are the most trusted outlets for news in Aotearoa New Zealand, with Radio New Zealand (7) and Television New Zealand (6.8) topping the rankings as most trustworthy when ranked out of 10.
  • Internationally, public broadcasters tend to have higher trust score than digital outlets as they have a longer track record.
  • Despite strong levels of trust in news, New Zealanders are strongly concerned by poor journalism (factual mistakes, dumbed down stories, misleading headlines/clickbait), facts being spun to push certain agendas, and commercial and political messages dressed up as news.
  • New Zealanders are more concerned about ‘fake news’ than news consumers in 38 other countries.
  • New Zealanders are worried about the use of term ‘fake news’, too; 86% of respondents were concerned it was used by politicians and others to discredit news sources they did not like, with 50% of respondents saying they were strongly concerned about this.

Report and press release

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