LOCAL news publishers are among the most trusted media in Ireland according to the 2021 Digital News Report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
The report shows that trust in local newspapers and their digital content has increased from 71% to 75% over the past year, while levels of distrust are lower than for any other media.
President of Local Ireland Declan McGuire of the Connacht Tribune Group said: ‘Local Ireland represents 42 paid-for newspapers [including The Southern Star].
‘During the Covid period, our editors have witnessed at first hand the value that people place on newsrooms that deliver reliable, trusted information.
‘Our journalists are part of their communities and have worked hard to report the latest news. No other media delivers such a hyperlocal service with the same level of trust and professionalism.’
The Irish element of the international survey was carried out by researchers from DCU using a sample of more than 2,000 people.
Executive director of Local Ireland Bob Hughes said: ‘The report’s findings show levels of trust in news are higher in Ireland than in other countries, while there has been a 5% increase year-on-year in those saying they are extremely or very interested in news.
‘As local news publishers continue their transition to digital business models, it is also encouraging that the report shows an increasing willingness among the public to pay for quality news journalism,’ said Mr Hughes.
He added that digital revenues remain challenging and it is important that government supports Irish news publishers in negotiations with the major tech platforms around paying for our journalists’ stories and by introducing new funding models that underpin journalism without compromising its independence.