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Public still trusts traditional media most: report

Nearly nine out of 10 Canadians still trust traditional news media, while only one in four consider news from social networks reliable, according to a report released today.

The report from the Canadian Media Research Consortium, suggests Canadians utilize social media and other non-traditional online sources for "news alerts and alternative perspectives," but choose to rely on newspapers and radio and television newscasts and their online counterparts for verification purposes.

The pillars of traditional journalism remain intact, according to the report. Ninety per cent of respondents thought "exposing abuses of power by government and other powerful institutions" is an important role for traditional media.

Almost 80 per cent thought the task of "providing a Canadian perspective on world events" is also a valuable one for traditional journalists. The vast majority of respondents thought the same for the roles of "reporting the story behind the headline, providing analysis of important events and providing regular coverage of government actions."

"It seems clear that the traditional media and their established processes of verification and editing still inspire public confidence, whether the news and information are delivered online or offline," the report states.

Canadians who spend more time on social media sites and young Canadians are more confident in non-traditional news sources, but still consider traditional journalism trustworthy.

"Young adults have more confidence in social networking sites and blogs than average, but they still rank them far behind established news sources. Traditional news outlets were ranked as reliable or very reliable by between 83 and 88 per cent of young adult respondents; only 33 per cent said the same about social networking sites or blogs."

The report utilized 1,682 responses to an online survey of randomly selected Canadian adults.

Tyler Harbottle is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

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