Digital Publishing
2 mins read

Trust in mainstream newspapers is growing in the US

Of late there has been a noticeable trend suggesting a resurgence of the newspaper, albeit mostly in a digital avatar.

To recap, just earlier this month, we reported about The Times of London and The Sunday Times reaching 500,000 subscribers, with digital subscribers overtaking print subscribers for the first time.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the New York Times made more than $1 billion in overall subscription revenue last year, with a total of more than 2.6 million digital-only subscriptions, and a surge in circulation.

The Washington Post reversed its fortunes too, going from sinking to winning. The Post – privately owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos – won’t discuss specific figures, but revenue and profits are up, as subscribers grow and digital ad revenue increases.

And last week, the Guardian Media Group, owner of the Guardian and Observer titles, joined the ranks, with digital revenues overtaking print for the first time.

Now The Economist is reporting that trust in mainstream American newspapers has grown, even among conservatives.

Traditional newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post are regularly undermined by the current American president, who refers to them as “fake news”—a term originally used for online political-disinformation campaigns—and applies it to any unfavourable coverage of his administration.

Nevertheless, when YouGov—the international market research and data analytics firm—conducted a comprehensive three-year survey on behalf of The Economist, they found that confidence in Donald Trump’s two most frequently targeted newspapers, the New York Times and Washington Post, has actually grown.

YouGov asked a representative sample of Americans to rate large American news organisations on a scale from “very trustworthy” to “very untrustworthy”, and discovered that trust in America’s mainstream print media has improved across the political spectrum, even among people who support the president.

“Meanwhile, during the past two years, the New York Times’ monthly online readership has doubled to 130 million. If anything is failing, it appears to be Mr Trump’s campaign to undermine trust in the press, not the Gray Lady,” concludes The Economist.

This increase in trust in traditional newspapers is also reflected globally, with newspaper subscriptions on the rise, and local newspapers seeing a “resurgence of trust” as research shows they are three times more trusted than Facebook.

In a deeply disrupted digital landscape, it’s encouraging to see trusted media start to finally find a firm footing.