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Media trends—which newspapers do readers trust most?

by | Sep 19, 2018 | Public Relations

A new study measuring “trust” among readers of their newspapers-of-choice from Brand Keys found The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal #1 among fifteen papers examined in this wave of research.

Because ideology self-defines selection when it comes to actually subscribing to a newspaper (print or online) the contribution range identified for “trust” in the various newspapers included in this wave of research was very narrow (80-to-88 percent) particularly when compared to TV news providers (58-to-90 percent).

“Trust” in one’s newspaper (print, digital platform, and via mobile app) accounts for 41 percent of newspaper brand engagement. The remaining 59 percent is accounted for via attributes and values addressing “entertainment listings and sports,” “an ability to educate and inform via news reporting, columnists, and editorial,” and providing insights into the “economy and local events and markets.”

Three thousand eight hundred six (3,806) subscribers (paper & digital) and/or “regular newsreaders”—via digital or app, 3+ times a week—evaluated their newspaper brand-of-choice. The Brand Keys Emotional Engagement Analysis determined how much the single value of trust the brands engendered among readers. The survey identified the following, with + 5 percent indicating significant differences at the 95 percent confidence level, and an evenhanded spectrum of liberal, moderate, and conservative dispositions.

Most trusted newspapers:

  • The New York Times (88 percent)
  • The Wall Street Journal (88 percent)
  • The Washington Post (87 percent)
  • The Los Angeles Times (86 percent)
  • The Washington Times (86 percent)
  • The Boston Globe (86 percent)
  • USA Today (85 percent)
  • The Chicago Tribune (84 percent)
  • New York Post (84 percent)
  • The Mercury News (83 percent)
  • The Dallas Morning News (83 percent)
  • Boston Herald (82 percent)
  • The Baltimore Sun (81 percent)
  • The Seattle Times (81 percent)
  • The Sacramento Bee (80 percent)

The category of “Media” overall was identified as the sector where “trust” contributed most (34 percent) to consumer engagement, the analysis based on an examination of 150 categories and 1,287 brands in the Brand Keys 2018 Customer Loyalty and Engagement Index.

Trust in the President vs. newspapers

As a sidebar to the media study, since President Trump has labeled The New York Times as “failing,” and virtually every other news platform as “fake news” and “the enemy of the people,” Brand Keys also measured how much “trust” newspaper readers had in the President, versus the newspaper brands themselves.

Mr. Trump was rated an overall 24 percent, five percentage points lower than TV news viewers rated him, 64 percent lower than The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, and 60 percent lower than The Chicago Tribune and New York Post, which both fell mid-range when it came to the percent-contribution trust engendered among newspaper readers.

Examined by political affiliation among newspaper readers, Democrats rated Mr. Trump 9 percent, Independents 16 percent, and Republicans 29 percent. Eighteen percent (18 percent) of the sample had “No Opinion,” the same percentage reported for TV viewers.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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