University of Helsinki releases report on audience experiences of media trust, disinformation

Below is the Executive Summary of the report. You can read the full report here.

This NORDIS study, co-funded by the C.V. Åkerlund Media Foundation, focuses on Nordic audiences’ experiences of media trust and experiences of disinformation, based on nationwide, representative surveys in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden in May-June 2023.

The results indicate that while some robust and similar traditions of the national media systems still remain, NORDIS countries are simultaneously highly digitalized and showcase the importance of content consumption online and on mobile devices. The top five most used content sources are the same in all countries: social media, television, streaming services, news media websites/apps, and instant messaging. Similarly, the most important news sources are the same in all countries: News media websites and apps are number one everywhere, followed by television. Radio and social media followed, and, surprisingly, home-delivered printed newspapers still ranked 5th or 6th in importance.

The long legacy of including media freedom, and a robust trust in journalism, are present in the NORDIS countries: the media audiences generally trust legacy media and are weary of social media content. At the same time, most survey respondents say they encounter disinformation frequently. They are also cautious about the commercial pressures of legacy media. The responses to the statements about what builds trust in journalistic media show that from the audience’s perspective, trust is composed of many factors. However, the top two responses in the NORDIS countries were the accuracy of the information and the use of clear and informative language.

The respondents also recognise factors that threaten their trust in mediated contents: information warfare, the spread of disinformation, the impact of social media on the information one is exposed to, and the overflow of information in society are some of their greatest worries pertaining to their national media landscapes and their own media consumption.

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