Guardian named UK's most trusted newspaper

Survey suggests Britons under 30 seek out reliable news websites associated with traditional outlets

The Guardian is the most trusted newspaper brand in the UK, a study by a non-partisan media research organisation has found.

The research, conducted by the US-based Pew Research Centre, found the Guardian was particularly trusted among readers aged 18 to 29.

The pan-European study looked at a number of news outlets in a bid “to capture the scope and variety of the news media landscape in each country”. This included four British newspapers, with the Guardian top – ahead of the Times. The finding is consistent with data from the UK Publishers Audience Measurement Company (PAMCo) which show the Guardian with the highest trust among 16 UK titles.

The Pew study concluded that while younger readers are highly unlikely to pick up a print newspaper “they often name established newspaper brands as their main source of news”, suggesting younger audiences are seeking out reliable news on websites associated with traditional outlets.

The only exception to this rule is the Daily Mail, which has a higher trust rating among older Britons than younger ones.

trust graphic

However, the findings of the research – which covered more than 16,114 adults across eight western European countries – also show a deep and growing unhappiness among younger people about how the media covers issues such as crime, as well as growing concerns about media bias.

“Younger adults, those aged 18 to 29, largely agree with those older than them that the news media are important to the functioning of society,” said the report’s authors. “But when it comes to how the news media are doing, younger people in many countries are less keen on their performance than older adults.”

Young Britons are particularly unhappy with how the British media performs at holding the government to account and how issues around immigration are reported in UK outlets.

The research shows older Britons, in common with most western Europeans, continuing to place substantial faith in television news even as young viewers desert that medium.

Pew finds that two-fifths of Britons aged 18 to 29 say they never listen to news on the radio, while 19% say they never watch any TV news, instead choosing to rely on news websites and social media. By comparison a third of over-50s say they never access news online.

demographic graphic

The BBC remains the dominant news outlet for all generations of Britons, with 44% of 18-29-year-olds naming it as their main source of information. The Guardian is the second most popular outlet among younger audiences, followed by MailOnline.

However, the research shows the BBC is used less and trusted less by younger audiences – which the BBC itself acknowledges and which has prompted internal discussions about how to reconnect with this segment of the population.

The report finds that most trends in changing media consumption follow the same pattern across Europe, whether in the UK, France or Germany.

• This article was amended on 5 November 2018 to add the reference to PAMCo data.


Jim Waterson Media editor

The GuardianTramp

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