After years of bad news for the news business, recent data suggest that consumer confidence is slowly returning. To sustain this trend, journalists must continue producing quality content, and governments should explore new ways to support those who cannot pay.
OXFORD – After years of ill health, the news industry is finally showing signs of a modest recovery. According to the Digital News Report 2018 – the most comprehensive survey of digital media consumption – subscriptions are trending up while consumer confidence has stabilized. For a much-maligned business that trades in trust, these fragile gains amount to meaningful progress.
To be sure, the world’s media remain troubled; the report, produced by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, shows that only 44% of news consumers believe what established media brands publish. But that represents an increase of one percentage point from last year, suggesting that the industry’s trust deficit has either stopped growing or is actually narrowing.
Other surveys are even more bullish; for example, the annual Edelman Trust Barometer found that journalists are regaining their credibility, while overall trust in traditional and online-only journalism is at its highest point in seven years. These findings prompted the firm to declare that “the return of experts” is upon us.