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The complexity of trust in journalism

April 24, 2024

At the end of March, Gisela Reiter from the Department of Communication presented the results of an Austrian-Finnish study at the international conference #YouthMediaLife 2024 at the University of Vienna.

In her conference paper “Plurality of trust: A qualitative analysis of young people’s media use and media literacy in Austria and Finland”, Gisela Reiter presented a country comparison on the topic of media literacy, media use and the associated trust in journalism. Together with Minna Horowitz and Janne Matikainen from the University of Helsinki, the researchers compared not only the country-specific media offerings and usage habits, but also several qualitative studies that were conducted simultaneously in both countries. This multi-method research reveals different strategies of media use and different dimensions of trust in certain media.

Key role of social media and respect for journalistic values

All analyzed studies point to the key role of social media, the importance of peers and other epistemic communities. Nevertheless, young people respect traditional journalistic values and are often highly media literate. They understand the motives of market-driven click baiting and the dangers of social media echo chambers as news sources. The fundamental multidimensional concept of trust underlines the challenges of sustainable trust-building for media offerings, especially for young users.

The researchers’ central appeals are therefore to

  • offer relevant public service content on all platforms
  • a further expansion of existing offerings to increase media literacy
  • a regular exchange and contact between media institutions and the audience

>> Further information on the #YouthMediaLife 2024 conference

>> To the abstract of the conference contribution