Despite continued trust in traditional media, younger Canadians more open to other platforms

November 8, 2022

 Kaiser & Partners’ annual survey on media sentiment finds trust in media platforms varies among demographics 

TORONTO – November 8, 2022 – In celebration of its 11th anniversary, Kaiser & Partners, Inc. (K&P) has released its annual survey examining the changes in media consumption and trust in news sources since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data revealed that established news media remains the most credible source of information by over half of Canadians (53%) for the third consecutive year. However, trust in media has wavered slightly over the last two years, losing seven percentage points from 2020 to 2022.

Highlights

  • Younger Canadians are more flexible when it comes to trusting information sources
    • 36 per cent of Canadians aged 18-34 believe that traditional news media is the most trusted source of information compared to those aged 55 and older (72%)
  • Mediums such as podcasts are becoming increasingly popular news sources for younger Canadians
    • 17 per cent of Canadians aged 18-34 cited they have shifted to podcasts to source information in the last year
  • Credibility of the outlet publishing the story is the top factor in determining trustworthy news for Canadians
    • 63 per cent of Canadians cited the credibility of the outlet where the story is from, followed by credibility of the reporter (35%) and inclusion of local expert commentary (34%) as the top factors to determine trustworthy news

While Canadians still trust established news media the most, the younger generation is more flexible when it comes to trusting information sources 

According to the 2022 survey, the younger generation (18-34) are less likely to believe that traditional news media is the most credible source of information (36%) than their older counterparts and tend to be more open to trusting alternative sources of news. This includes expert content on social media (22%), blogs or other online content from industry experts (16%), or content from interest groups and NGOs (15%).

An even more notable shift was apparent when it came to trust in information shared by public health agencies and the government(s). The data shows only one-third (34%) of Canadians considered public health agencies to be the most credible source of information, a 23-percentage point drop since 2020. Trust in information released by governments is also down to 29 per cent (compared to 42% in 2021).

“While integrity is largely declining across many sources of information today, the gap is widening between public and governmental entities and established news media,” said Janine Allen, president and partner, Kaiser & Partners. “Canadians remain loyal to overall media as the most trusted vessel of information, however, it is important to recognize that not all demographics rely on the same sources. Moving forward, it is critical to understand where audiences are looking for information to ensure they are effectively reached.”

Over the past year, podcasts are the medium that saw the biggest shift among younger Canadians

Although the first two years of the pandemic saw Canadians return to TV for news, online news now is getting more attention, with 19 per cent of Canadians reporting they consume more online information than last year. This compares to 17 per cent who say they are watching more broadcast TV news.

Age also appears to factor into recent news consumption behaviours. The older generation (55+) has been the main driver of the shift towards online news consumption, with 23 per cent saying they read more online news compared to last year, up from 17 per cent in 2021. When it comes to younger Canadians (18-34), podcasts are the news source that has seen the biggest shift (17%). This group also relies more on social platforms for news (16%), alongside online news (16%) than other demographic groups.

“This data provides important insights about the current and future state of news and information sharing,” continued Allen. “This helps both PR professionals and media understand how to best deliver accurate information in a format that is appealing for all audiences during a time when they need it most.”

Credibility of publication, reputation of reporter and local expert comments noted as top drivers of trust

The survey also revealed the main drivers of trust in terms of media consumption. When asked for their top three factors for how they would determine if the news they are consuming is trustworthy, Canadians cited credibility of the outlet where the story is from (63%), if the story was written by a well-known reporter (35%) and if the story included an interview or comments from a local expert explaining how it resonates in their market (34%).

When looking at generations, young Canadians (18-34) were the more likely to trust local expert comments, whereas other age groups are more likely to place their trust in the reporter who is penning the piece.

“PR and communications professionals have a role in building and maintaining trust,” added Allen. “This includes working with media to ensure all Canadians have access to relevant information that will resonate with them however they choose to digest it, all while maintaining the highest standards of data-based, fact-checked stories. This is key to reputation management both in the media and with clients and will lead to successful business bottom lines for all as a result.”

About Kaiser & Partners 

In a complicated and constantly evolving world, clear and meaningful communications have never been more important. At Kaiser & Partners, we offer a full suite of strategic and integrated communications services with a particular emphasis on corporate, marketing and financial communications to provide strategic and integrated communications solutions that influence positive business outcomes. We pride ourselves on having a knowledgeable, dedicated and experienced team, with offices in Toronto and Montreal, complemented by a carefully selected network of partners across North America to provide best-in-class counsel and support on every engagement. We are big enough to provide high-quality strategic counsel and specialized services, but nimble enough to respond quickly and personally. Visit us at: www.kaiserpartners.com.

Methodology

This Maru Public Opinion survey conducted on behalf of Kaiser & Partners was undertaken by the sample and data collection experts at Maru/Blue. 1,529 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada online panelists were surveyed from October 25 to October 26 2022. The results of this study have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 3.0%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals when compared to the data tables are due to rounding.

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Media Inquiries:

Jennifer Farr

jennifer.farr@kaiserpartners.com

415-910-5221

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