There have been some interesting conversations the last week at a local PRSA event and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Social Media Breakfast around the issue of trust. More specifically about trust when it comes to traditional media outlets vs. blogs.
We know the sources of trust have shifted. People no longer trust CEOs (by and large). They no longer look to leadership for answers. However, they do trust their neighbor. Their business colleague. And their families. In essence, they trust “someone like them” according to the Edeleman Trust Barometer. And, increasingly they’re going online for this information by visiting social networking sites, review sites and blogs.
Does that mean traditional outlets like the New York Times and CBS News are no longer trusted sources of information? According to some surveys, traditional media is one step above used car salesman in the trust department.
For me, this argument comes down to one critical issue: Objectivity.
You could make a pretty good case that traditional media have never been objective. Human nature alone gives rise to preferences and biases. As much as most journalists strive to be objective, they all have their personal biases.
However, journalists are trained and paid to research stories. To look at all angles. And to abide by a code of ethics.
On the other hand, bloggers are not necessarily trained writers or researchers. They don’t have to take into account all perspectives. And, really, they don’t a professional code of ethics to live up to. But, trust is growing with this community. Every day.
I find that interesting, don’t you? Why has trust waned in traditional media outlets while skyrocketing for people that often have very strong opinions and in no way are objective or impartial?
As PR pros, we still need the media (and let’s not kid ourselves, they still need us). And, as citizens, we do, too. The third-party credibility traditional media brings is still incredibly valuable. But, on the other hand, blogs add a lot to the marketplace as well. People will continue to turn to them for product reviews, entertainment and news/information.
Who do you trust? And, more importantly, why? I’m curious.
ote: Photo courtesy of HarrietBarber on FlickR Creative Commons