BBC Means UK Stands In Europe For Trust In Public News

The huge Pew Research Center report into differences in attitudes to traditional and online media in Western Europe has landed. It tells a familiar tale -- only with a twist for the UK, thanks to the BBC.

The big takeaway is not really a huge surprise. Younger people are far less likely to get their news from the television, radio or a newspaper than older generations. The difference between the generations is most stark with the revelation that only 12% of 18- to-29-year-olds read a newspaper, compared to 39% among those age 50 or over. The generation gap is not quite as stark with television and radio, although the older age group is roughly twice as likely to get news from these broadcast channels, compared to the youngest. 

There are no prizes for guessing that 18- to-29-year-olds are the big hitters in online news -- it's how nearly three in four find out about the world around them. Middle-aged people are not far behind, but as you would imagine, less than one in two people over 50 get news online. 

The picture is probably what we would all expect. Print is struggling the most with younger people, followed by radio, with television faring better as young people turn their attention to online news.

But here is the interesting part. When Western Europeans of all adult ages were asked to name their top news source, a pattern appears. Where there is a national broadcaster -- such as ARD in Germany or NPO in The Netherlands -- it is cited way out ahead of all commercial rivals as a trusted source. 

However, there's another age gap at play here. It's the most trusted source for all ages, but the endorsement halves as we move from the more trusting over 50s to the less trusting 19- to-29-year-olds. 

This brings us very neatly to the BBC. It is a national treasure that is often accused of soaking up public money and diverting eyeballs away from commercial stations with its ad-free content. However, the huge takeaway of this report -- when it comes to individual broadcasters -- is clear. As the UK's national broadcaster it is way out ahead as the most trusted news source for all three age groups. 

However, it is the only top source for news that is endorsed nearly as much by 18- to-29-year-olds as the over-50s. It is way out ahead in the Pew Research Center findings, no other broadcaster comes close to being as trusted by all three age groups.

it's important because it means the UK has a broadcaster that all can agree is their trusted source of news -- whether it's online, social, television or radio.

As countries battle fake news and extremism in online sites, it can only be a source of comfort to know the UK stands alone in Western Europe with a public broadcaster that is very nearly as trusted by millennials as the retired.

1 comment about "BBC Means UK Stands In Europe For Trust In Public News".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, October 31, 2018 at 6:04 p.m.

    You can add Australia's publiclly funded TV channel - ABC - to the list.    It consistently ranks #1, but not without some controversy, and not without our conservative government continually alleging bias (which says a lot about the 'bubble' of federal politics that the populus is tiring of).

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