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In The News We Trust

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While we may be aware that the media sensationalizes violence and even that stories often perpetuate biases, what we may not realize is just how much – or why – we trust the news.


According to a study conducted by The Media Insight Project, several new factors – such as the intrusiveness of ads, navigability, load times, and having the latest details – combine to determine whether we consider a publisher competent and worthy of trust.


However, our trust also varies depending on our topic. On some topics, such as politics, the study found, we look for in‑depth reporting and expert sources more highly. On other topics, such as lifestyle, ease of use is of higher value. For still others, being entertained is more important.


Perhaps most concerning is the connection between instant gratification and trust. For 76% of consumers surveyed, having the latest details was rated as a critical reason for why they trust the news. News delivered succinctly, and getting to the point, similarly, was rated by 72% of consumers as the prevailing reason they trust the news (American Press Institute, 2017).


Further, we trust digital news more when ads don’t interfere (63%), the site or app loads fast (63%), and that the content works well on mobile phones (60%). And if its lifestyle content we are after, when it’s entertaining (53%) (American Press Institute, 2017).


There is also an interesting contrast that appears when we consider the source of the news. While reputation and use of expert sources is highly valued for consumers of most news sources (76%), for users of Facebook, the reputation of the person who shared the material is a less frequently cited factor (48%) (American Press Institute, 2017).


While 38% of Americans can recall a specific recent incident that caused them to lose trust in a news source – most commonly an instance of perceived bias – the problem is that we keep consuming media (American Press Institute, 2017). And when we do, we inevitably expose ourselves to overblown versions of violence that perpetuate a cycle of fear, and the biases that underlie it. Perhaps the question we should be asking is: What is the effect of this level of exposure to trauma, and why do we keep watching?

In The News We Trust

Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

Claire Dorotik-Nana LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in post-traumatic growth, leveraging adversity, and other epic human achievements. Claire has written multiple continuing education courses for Professional Development Resources, Zur Institute, and International Sport Science Association. Claire has also authored multiple books, including:
Leverage: The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards and On The Back Of A Horse: Harnessing The Healing Power Of The Human-Equine Bond. For more information about Leveraging Adversity or Claire, visit

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APA Reference
Dorotik-Nana, C. (2019). In The News We Trust. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 12 Sep 2019
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