Editorial: Trust in the media continues to diminish

According to a study done by the American Press Institiute, only 6 percent of people say they have a great amount of trust in the media anymore. This is about the same amount of confidence the public has in Congress.

Trust in the media is reaching historic lows. Much of this loss of faith comes from perceptions of inaccuracy and bias, coming mostly from skepticism about social media driven news.

However, the interesting thing about these polls are that respondents said they valued accuracy above all else, with 85 percent saying it was extremely important to avoid errors in coverage. Timeliness and clarity followed with 76 percent and 72 percent saying those attributes were imperative among their media sources.

News is a 24/7 cycle. The expectations of news consumers have increased. People want their news as soon as it happens and expect expert sources to be quoted instantly.

This comes from a society that has been hand fed the most up to date technology instantly and has everything they need at a moment’s notice.

“The most important thing that news organizations can do is be accurate, and while we know that is a high value, this study reinforces that,” said Margaret Sullivan, public editor of The New York Times.

“Even if it goes against the competitive push to be first,” she said. “Perhaps, there has to be a willingness to wait a little bit to be right.”

In 2014, Rolling Stone had to retract a vivid report about an alleged gang rape at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia. The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, asked by Rolling Stone to investigate after questions were raised about the veracity of the story, called it an avoidable journalistic failure and “another shock to journalism’s credibility amid head-swiveling change in the media industry.”

Instances like what Rolling Stone faced are what brings credibility down. One mess-up like they had and nearly all trust that was once acquired is lost.

Ironically, despite news organizations’ ongoing battle to master social media platforms, that trust doesn’t extend to the likes of Facebook and Twitter. 

The report found just 12 percent of people trust media delivered via Mark Zuckerberg’s evolving juggernaut, even though 87 percent of people get news from Facebook.

Being a journalist is the world today is a losing battle. It is impossible to get a story out when the readers want it and it is impossible to please the audience, according to readers.

However, a journalist also knows their morals and the quality of their work. Getting a story out accurately is key and the readership will follow along once they realize the quality of work.

In a fast paced news world, it can be beneficial to remain accurate than to push out stories every hour.