Media & PR

Trust in professions: it’s generally good news but there’s a real puzzle about journalism

The latest data on the public’s trust in professions is out and thanks to MORI’s great long-running series of comparable data the new figures can be put in decent historic context. And the context is surprisingly good, unless you are a politician or a journalist.

I say “surprisingly” because the usual tenor of discussions about trust of others in society is of a troubling long-term decline. For example, see Anthony Seldon’s book Trust. Yet the long-term trends, as I speculated a few years ago, do indeed now generally look promising.

MORI trust graph January 2015

The clergy aside (and their importance is of course declining), trust in professions is either flat or rising. That’s basically good (though I would add a caveat about problems with people sometimes being too trusting of the police in particular).

It’s no surprise either that politicians are bumping along the bottom. What’s perhaps more surprising is that journalists continue to lag so poorly – surprising because whilst politicians continue to be eaten up by discussions about how to revive trust in politics, the debate amongst journalists over the future of their profession continues to almost totally ignore the trust issue.

Lots of debate about technology and formats and lists and cats. But the basic idea that it’s hard to get people to pay for your work or give your profession privileged legal protection if they don’t trust you?

That gets hardly any attention. Still.

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