Declining trust in the media

SimonCommunications, General2 Comments

The power of the media to influence reputation is something that many PR practitioners take for granted – yet that power relies on the reader trusting the media they’re consuming.

Neville Hobson has an interesting post picking up on the theme of declining trust in media and the changes in the practice of journalism described by Nick Davies’ Flat Earth News.

This decline in trust, matched with the generally declining reach of local newspapers means public sector communicators need to think more broadly at their communications mix.

It’s no longer adequate to rely on media relations as the mainstay of a communications mix – yet many councils do just that.

A combination of lack of experience of broader communications planning and an addiction to local newspaper coverage among senior people in local public sector organisations serves to perpetuate this myth.

Surely it’s the job of communications professionals to present the true picture of how people get news and information in a place – what’s the reach of local papers, radio and television? What alternative channels exist? What’s the trend and what does it mean for a public sector organisation’s communications?

The communications landscape is changing, and the practice of public sector communications is changing too. I wonder which is changing faster…

2 Comments on “Declining trust in the media”

  1. Kevin Campbell-Wright

    I couldn’t agree more – but then, whenever I bring this up with Public Sector communicators, I’m told they don’t have time to start thinking about this – and that it’s one for the web services officer.

    What we need a clear and definite study that shows that PR through traditional media, especially reputation management in my opinion, is not as effective as coupling that effort with New media PR.

    I’m sure many students read this blog and it would be interesting to see if any of them are doing such a study – esp if it is in public sector or local authority!

    1. Simon

      it would be an interesting area for research.

      any communicator who says they don’t have time for this isn’t doing their job properly – if their publics are using these tools, the comms people need to too.

      some research evidence would help, but I think comms people need to take some professional responsibility too

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