PBS Study: British Public Trusts TV More Than Newspapers

What happens to a society when they lose trust in traditional media? Do they turn to online media, like blogs and Facebook? Apparently not, according to a new study commissioned by PBS.

In honor of its Nov. 1 launch across the pond, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) released its first PBS UK Trust report, which interviewed 1,108 UK adults and 1,095 US adults. The findings show that the British public was rocked by this summer’s phone-hacking scandal, so much so that 58 percent say they have lost trust in newspapers.

More surprisingly, however, is that 64 percent of UK respondents say TV is the most trusted news outlet, with radio a close second at 58 percent.

“It is salutary how public trust has been corroded across all media and yet encouraging that television still enjoys a high level of trust,” Richard Kingsbury, PBS general manager UK, is quoted as saying in a post on YouGov.co.uk, the company that carried out the survey.

The numbers are much lower when it comes to blogs and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. For trusted news content, only one in ten of UK adults would turn to a blog and just 15 percent of UK people go to Twitter and Facebook.

How does this stack up to Americans? Forty-four percent of Americans trust the newspaper industry and 42 percent view TV and magazines as trustworthy. Blogs come in at 18 percent and social media isn’t much higher at 19 percent.

Americans also trust UK media a lot more than its own citizens do. Three in four UK people surveyed said they wouldn’t be surprised if their media lied to them while only 7 percent of Americans said they never trust UK media.

Want to learn more? Read the full UK results or take a look at the US results.