77% of Canadians are more likely to believe the media over the government (23%) when the government denies a report May 26, 2017: Is there a low public trust in mainstream news and has that put the industry at risk? Is the journalistic profession in danger of becoming irrelevant? A critical issue that has kept

77% of Canadians are more likely to believe the media over the government (23%) when the government denies a report

May 26, 2017: Is there a low public trust in mainstream news and has that put the industry at risk? Is the journalistic profession in danger of becoming irrelevant? A critical issue that has kept newsroom managers up at night has been the digital disruption of the broadcast and publishing industry, and its impact on revenues and audience fragmentation. But if there is one thing the U.S. election of 2016 did show us, it’s not just about strategizing on how to engage and monetize a mobile-first news consumer, but how to retain that all-important trust with a highly skeptical audience in a so-called post-truth era.

A poll conducted by Ipsos, on Behalf of RTDNA Canada, found that despite the proliferation of social media, fake news, and alternative facts, seven in ten (69%) Canadians continue to trust traditional news media – unchanged since 2008.

In cases where government denies a story reported in the news media, Canadians are much more likely to believe the media over the government.

“Canadians continue to turn to traditional news sources – TV, print and radio – as their most-trusted sources of factual news,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs. “The proliferation of social media and fake news has created a digital discount, meaning that online sources of information are less trusted. Canadians have a tremendously-difficult time discerning between what news is real and what is fake.”

This year’s theme for the annual Radio Television Digital News Directors Association’s national conference, “Connecting with Audiences in the Age of Mistrust”, being held at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto on May 26 – 27, 2017, will discuss solutions for news organizations tackling these issues. You can watch a live stream of the poll results and discussion from Canada’s top broadcast and digital news leaders on the RTDNA’s Facebook page at beginning at 8:30 AM, Friday May 26.

Other findings:

  • Traditional news sources are trusted more often than online or social media sources, led by broadcast TV news and print newspapers. Compared to Americans, Canadians are more trusting of broadcast TV news, news radio and talk radio, but less trusting of newspapers’ websites, online-only news publications and Facebook.
  • Broadcast TV news leads as the most common source for news. Facebook, however, is the #2 source, ahead of print newspapers and news radio.
    Canadians are more likely than Americans to have sourced their news from broadcast TV news, print newspapers, and, especially, news radio.
    For Millennials, Facebook and social media (generally) are ahead of broadcast TV news and papers.
  • Despite the closure of many local news sources and existing local news platforms using more national/international content for their stories, Canadians say that nearly half (45%) of all their news is consumed from local sources, while less news is obtained from national or international sources individually.
  • A majority – eight in ten (81%) Canadians – are at least somewhat confident in their ability to distinguish between legitimate and ‘fake’ news. Men are more confident than women, as are university grads compared to the less educated. While a majority in all regions are confident, Quebecers (67%) are less likely to be so than anyone else.
  • However, when English-speaking Canadians were shown a series of six images from news websites, and asked to indicate which ones were ‘fake news’, a majority (63%) failed the quiz by only getting 0-3 out of 6 right. The pass/fail rate was broadly similar across gender, age, education and regional lines, and showed no correlation with people’s confidence in their ability to detect fake news.

For the full poll results please click here:
For more information please contact:

Darrell J. Bricker, PhD
CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs

RTDNA President:

Ian Koenigsfest

Conference Chairs:

Fiona Conway

George Browne


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