Monday, October 24, 2016

American's Trust in Media is Declining

Natalie Townsend

Americans' trust in the media has dropped by eight percent from last year to this year to a total of 32 percent. With such a controversial presidential election going on, the increasing amount of social media outlets and the way minorities are portrayed, these numbers don't surprise me.

The Election

This picture illustrates the way Conservatives feel about Liberal media today.
One main reason we can assume that trust has declined is because of the presidential election. With many campaigns and opinions floating around the media, it is not uncommon for trust to drop during this time.

Republicans' trust in the media has dramatically dropped from 32 percent to 16 percent, while Democrats dropped from 55 percent to 51. Some people argue that Donald Trump is misrepresented in the "mainstream media," while there are only positive things said about Hillary Clinton.

However, in a polling from the Pew Research Center, it was found that liberals turn to several more broad sources, and conservatives typically only trust a limited amount of sources, so it is expected that liberals would have more trust in the media.

Controlling our Biases

Another reason we see a decline in trust in the media is because of the way minorities are portrayed. The smallest change in words can illustrate biases. For example, there were two pictures of people searching for supplies during Hurricane Katrina, but the one of the black boy was described as "looting," while the white couple was just "searching for food." We see examples like this all the time, and it is really unfortunate that people are more worried about someone's race rather than what the story is.

It is our duty as credible and reliable journalists to put our biases aside and report the truth.

Social Media

Anyone with access to internet can essentially report news too, but sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between what is real news and what is simply opinion. With the rise of so many different forums for people to post false stories on, it's not a shock that trust in media would decline. But that just means true journalists have to work extra hard to report with transparency.

We can take these social media platforms and put them to good use. It is a way to interact with our audience and get their feedback. It's pretty cool that we get to experience this new wave of journalism, we just have to be weary about trusting everything you read or hear.

Looking Forward

Trust has been on the decline for quite some time now, but we should not let that deter us from doing what we are here to do and providing the public with accurate and truthful information. In order to regain the public's trust, we need to expand the newsroom and get more perspectives to report on stories that have potential for biases and bring journalism back to something people can fully rely on.

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