Web news making ground on old-media

But blogs and trust still lagging...

But blogs and trust still lagging...

The internet is growing in popularity as a source of news, especially among the young, though it still has some way to go before it overhauls newspapers and television for the average media consumer.

A survey commissioned by the BBC and Reuters found the internet is regarded as a trusted news source by 38 per cent of respondents globally. More importantly only 20 per cent of the 10,000-plus people surveyed said they distrust news websites - compared to 16 per cent for national television and 19 per cent for newspapers.

In areas with high levels of internet usage, news websites are more highly valued. In South Korea 85 per cent of respondents value online news services, while in the US the figure was 60 per cent and the UK 57 per cent, according to the research.

Among young people, trust in the internet is greatest, suggesting continued growth for the future. Nineteen per cent of respondents aged 18 to 24 cited the internet as their most trusted news source compared to just three per cent of those aged 55 to 64.

However, national television still leads the way, with 82 per cent of respondents saying they regard it as a trusted source of news.

The increased choice of news outlets, which has come about through the growth of the internet and digital television, means consumers are also able to be more fickle. More than a quarter (28 per cent) of respondents claim to have stopped using a media source over the past year after it lost their trust, according to the report.

The survey also revealed a gulf between people's trust in the media and their trust in the government. The US was the only place where respondents placed more trust in their government than the media.

But despite distrust in government, the jury is still out on independent blogs which have long been heralded as ushering in an era of democratised media. The signs are good though, with 25 per cent of respondents saying they already trust blogs for their news.

Doug Miller, president GlobeScan, who conducted the research for the Beeb and Reuters said: "TV is still the most trusted news source by a wide margin, although the internet is gaining ground among the young."