Detalle Publicación

Trust, disinformation, and digital media: Perceptions and expectations about news in a polarized environment

ISSN: 1386-6710
Volumen: 32
Número: 5
Páginas: e320518
Fecha de publicación: 2023
The transformation that the communicative environment has undergone in recent decades poses a challenge for the media in relation to their audiences, as trust is sensitive to social, economic, cultural, and technological changes. The aim of this research is to deepen the understanding of the reasons and factors that influence the loss of trust in the media by audiences who traditionally trusted news more (young people and adults aged 25-54), examining the relevance of disinformation and polarization in discrediting the media. Firstly, the state of the issue is reviewed from the theoretical point of view and the data provided, among others, such as the Digital News Report and several studies about the global loss of trust in other institutions, with special reference to the Edelman Trust Barometer. Secondly, the article adopts a qualitative methodology to investigate the motivations and expectations of citizens regarding the media. Specifically, three discussion groups were held in various Spanish cities. To ensure representativeness, sociodemographic diversity was considered, including gender, age, and educational level criteria, among others. Among the findings, it stands out that one of the main reasons for distrust towards the media is the perception that news is biased for political or economic reasons. The Covid-19 pandemic, which was rife with disinformation, has influenced attitudes towards the media and the way news is consumed. Once the pandemic was overcome, trust in the media decreased and participants sought alternative sources of information. However, some differences in perceptions and consumption habits are noted depending on age and educational level. Finally, the research indicates that distrust extends well beyond the media ecosystem, affecting all institutions.