Trust in Media

Zac Zehnder
3 min readNov 12, 2021


We live in a time where it is easy to share information through technology. It is another form of getting things fast which is most people’s number one concern. However, just as easy as social media has made it be to be honest, it has also enabled an easy route to misinformation and the spread of multiple narratives.

Journalist are supposed to be trusted and respected as they are working for the viewer to get them all the information, they know about a situation as soon as possible. It is important to know that sometimes this is not what is happening. There is journalist who take this trust for granted for their own gain daily.

Shattered Glass is a movie that follows the story of a journalist who was very well respected in the industry. He would nail piece after piece winning the attention of viewers on a very consistent basis. The only problem with that was most of his information was fabricated. He had let the trust he had from the public get into the way he was going about his business in a negative way. Lacking a system of checks and balances, it took so long to catch him because the only real way to verify information is through field notes that were taken. Those can be even more fabricated.

These kinds of things are causing the public to struggle with information that is received. Within the past five years public trust in the media has tanked straight down. A Paw Research Study conducted in June of 2021 reflects this.

· In 2016 Democratic trust in the media was a whopping 83%. Five years later, it has not changed too much for a 78% mark.

· In 2016 70% of Republicans claimed they trust the media. Five years later, that number is in half at 35%

· Averaging those numbers, public trust in the media has fallen by just under 20% in the past five years.

How could it possibly be that people are losing trust in the media? How do they get it back?

It would probably be in their best interest to spend more time verifying information. Many believe a main reason alongside many others is journalist assuming things based off what they think they know. In a piece published by the American Press Institute, an author and newspaper executive Jack Fuller called assumption the mother of all screw-ups. This is likely a product of a lack of humility.

It is incredibly important that journalist exemplify humility in the way that they both seek and know information. Often ties, arrogance due to the amount of knowledge held can lead to one truly believing they know more about a situation than they do. Not all the time are they doing it deliberately, but it ends up becoming something they do without even knowing it.

In a research document done by Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, it outlines that common errors within the field are also caused by journalist attempting to work from there memory as well as relying too heavily on second hand sources. Think of secondhand sources like a game of telephone. Who knows how many people the information has been through but it can be helpful when collaborating with primary sources. The document also list important questions to think of:

1. Who says?

2. How do they know?

3. Are they biased?

4. What don’t I know?

Those two points really combine for form a simple point being that it is very important to identify who you are getting your information from. It really teaches me about the importance of trust and relationships in the journalistic world. The more healthy relationships maintained out in the community or even on a national level, the quicker and safer you can attain reliable information. People will give you the answers you need if you take the time to seek them instead of assume false things and ruin trust and relationships.