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UK swaying towards UGC for trustful news

A study from Newsflare reveals the current level of mistrust for the UK media, with findings showing just 22 per cent of people always believe the information reported by news sources.

A further 42 per cent of people say they have seen or read a piece of news recently that they didn’t believe to be true, with 73 per cent stating this made them question the source’s overall legitimacy as a news provider. Out of all those involved in the study, just 27 per cent were able to confidently report they had not come across a piece of ‘fake news’ lately, with a further 31 per cent being unsure. The research findings come as leading tech giants Google, Twitter and Facebook launch further fact-checking features to combat fake news.

The research, which explores the news habits and preferences of the British public, highlights a clear shift in behaviours towards favouring user-generated content. When asked who they would trust to deliver news to them about an incident, just 30 per cent of people selected a journalist as their top choice, while 45 per cent said a member of the public who was present at the event.

Overall, the respondents look to various channels for the latest news, including print papers, websites and apps, news programmes, and social media channels. However, the majority (61 per cent) feel broadsheet newspapers are most likely to provide trustworthy and factually validated information, despite just 7 per cent using them to stay up-to-date with news.

Who do we trust?

Exploring what would make individuals more likely to trust a media platform as a source of information; most people say the use of video and imagery taken by a member of the public (36 per cent), followed by the use of relevant statistics and data (28 per cent). Respondents say this helps them to form their own opinions, without being influenced by news sources, and that it also provides a human element to the news. 51 per cent also say they would be more likely to engage with a news story if it includes video captured by the public in real time.

Jon Cornwell, co-founder and CEO of Newsflare comments, “It’s both promising and worrying to see the scale of mistrust in the UK media. While it goes a long way to positively demonstrate the freethinking, self-influential world we now live in, recent reports of fake news have clearly changed the public’s opinion about whether media content is genuine and reliable. Instead, people are swaying towards user generated content.”

Cornwell continues, “Eyewitness video is powerful not only because it’s a real time account but because it is able to prompt an emotional response, which is particularly effective in a socio-political context. If, for example, you read a report of a cyclist being involved in a crash it is one thing but if you see the events of that crash unfold via the helmet cam of an adjacent cyclist, your reaction to the crash will be felt on a deeper level. Video has the power both to build audiences and to build trust. However, publishers and broadcasters must avoid taking shortcuts when it comes to verifying eyewitness video. A video and its filmer leave a complex digital footprint, which if properly understood and investigated, can guarantee a video’s authenticity before it is published or broadcast to support a news story.”

The research also uncovers differentiations between age groups, with those aged 16-29 choosing social media channels as their go-to platform for staying up-to-date with news, while those 45 and above prefer to watch news programmes on television.

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