Trust In News survey finds online leading go-to for news

Canada’s first-ever Trust in News survey finds that online news is the leading go-to medium for news audiences, while radio scored top points for credibility.

Conducted by Vividata and Kantar in April, the survey of 2,000 adults examined how Canadians feel about news sources in the era of ‘fake news’, which sources they prefer and trust, and their feelings on the importance of quality journalism. The study also attempted to uncover areas of strength and opportunity for news organizations in Canada.

The findings suggest 70 per cent of Canadians access news from an online platform weekly, including digital-only news outlets, social media, or the websites or apps of newspaper, magazine, radio or TV outlets. The rise of digital platforms continues to be driven by those age 18-34, with three quarters of that demographic accessing news online.

Television was the secondary dominant source, either news programs or 24 hour news channels, with total reach of 70 per cent across all audiences, but slightly smaller audiences than online in the 18-34 and 35-54 demos. Social media followed television with 40 per cent reach, while newspaper brands came in at 36 per cent.

Smartphones are the mobile device of choice to consume online news (64 per cent), with respondents citing convenience, including reading news on the go and being able to easily access a wide variety of sources, while also seeing what friends and connections care about. A slightly higher number of users consume their news on a desktop computer or laptop (68 per cent).

Highest trust in radio

News audiences rate their highest trust in radio (82 per cent), followed by TV news programs (75 per cent), 24 hour news channels (73 per cent), printed national daily newspapers (70 per cent), and printed magazines (68 per cent). Websites or apps of digital news outlets (32 per cent) and social media (19 per cent) sit at the other end of the spectrum, having the least amount of news audience trust. Trust in digital offerings by newspaper and magazine brands are double that of exclusively digital news outlets.

As far as trust in news coverage of politics and elections, 66 per cent of news audiences claim to trust social media less as a result of ‘fake news’. Printed national daily newspapers have gained the most trust since the proliferation of ‘fake news’, followed by radio then TV.

The survey found that on average, Canadian news audiences use three different types of media for news throughout the week. For printed, national daily newspaper audiences, that jumps to five sources, an indicator of a strong appetite for news among audiences of national newspaper brands. Interest in the news is also on the rise among news audiences in general with one in four respondents using a greater number of news sources in 2018 than the previous year. The trend is greater among younger audiences with 31 per cent of 18-24 year-olds recording an increase in how many news sources they use.

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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