Data and society

earning trust

why fewer people trust the news in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia?

Oct 4th 2019
<p>FOR Judit Neurink, a veteran Dutch foreign correspondent who spend the first decade of the Iraqi war mentoring young Kurdish journalists, it was a theme that kept coming back. She would tell her students something to the effect that the key to independent reporting is that a journalist is autonomous: “You talk to eighteen sources. You verify their statements. You try to paint an accurate story.” Someone would always intervene: “But who pays you?”</p><p>“The owner of your paper,” Ms Neurink would respond. “But you are independent of him.”</p><p>And the student would not let go. “If he pays you?”</p><p>Some believed in independent journalism. But to show this possibility to the journalists from the partisan media seemed impossible. At the end, Ms Neurink quit.</p><p>She believes that in Kurdistan, the distrust in possibility of impartial reporting and critical interviewing as if already springs from the “position of dependence” from which Kurdish journalists typically address their interviewees: “mamosta” (<em>teacher</em>).</p><p>For a host of reasons, neither journalists in the Visegrad countries typically see themselves as impartial reporters. Promoting a cause – whether it is nationalist, humanitarian or otherwise – “seems to be more common perception of journalists’ role”, Peter Bajomi-Lazar recently summarized a set of 28 interviews with Polish media practitioners.</p><p>A significant part of the public in the countries of the region, too, is sceptical about the idea of impartial journalism.</p><p>“Rightfully so perhaps. They have seen a lot,” says Jenne Jan Holtland, a foreign correspondent at Volkskrant covering Central and Eastern Europe. Mr Holtland recalls how when he was speaking with an editor-in-chief of an unnamed broadcaster, the editor would not believe the owners of Holtland’s paper don’t interfere with editorial matters.</p><p>“Maybe your seniors call you in the office to discuss the content of your article?”, the editor said with a smirk, implying “content discussion” would mean submitting to senior's pressure; never an assessment of the article's compliance with professional standards.</p><p>Some argue that engaged journalism – a journalism associated slightly more with a confirmation of existing views than with uncovering new information – is what audiences in Central and Eastern Europe want.</p><p>According to the last three Reuters Digital News Reports, about 15 % - 20 % fewer people in V4 countries trust in the news than, for instance, in Germany. – Except in Poland. There, the number is similar to that of its Western neighbour.</p><p>It is also in Poland where (private) media are perceived to put those in power to scrutiny. According to the latest Reuters Digital News Report, it is 52%, compared to 20% in Hungary.</p><p>So, isn’t the willingness to hold those in power to account at the end a key to increase trust in media in the other V4 countries?</p><p>Maybe.</p><p>Lower trust in media in general may also be associated with the fact that contemporary news make people depressed and exhausted, <a href="https://www.niemanlab.org/2019/06/why-do-some-people-avoid-news-because-they-dont-trust-us-or-because-they-dont-think-we-add-value-to-their-lives/?utm_source=SJN+Members+%5BHub%2BSolutionsU%5D&utm_campaign=0aba08ea36-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_11_27_06_41_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_7b57f9b709-0aba08ea36-425327981&mc_cid=0aba08ea36&mc_eid=e2534038c5" target="_blank">argues</a> Joshua Benton, director of Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard. <a href="https://www.solutionsjournalism.org/" target="_blank">Solutions journalism</a> may be a way how to make journalism more valuable for people.</p><h3>prelude to presentation of research findings on migration in the news</h3><p><img src="/img/articles/images/04Xt1cYKBgiqyNlK8ukk7FTHwgLIq9FL1r0974IW.png" width="406" style="display: inline; float: right; margin: 0px 0px 1em 1em;">Naturally, trust in media also differs within countries across brands. The following graph features brands that we included in a forthcoming <em>Datalyrics/CMDS </em>study on migration portrayal in primetime news in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Poland. In this study to be published later in October, we will describe some distinctive features of ARD’s news casting that may be contributing to the high level of trust the brand exhibits.</p><p>What’s particularly interesting about the graph are the differences between trust of all versus loyal users: when they are bigger, it signifies the brand attracts more partisan audience.</p>
<p>FOR Judit Neurink, a veteran Dutch foreign correspondent who spend the first decade of the Iraqi war mentoring young Kurdish journalists, it was a theme that kept coming back. She would tell her students something to the effect that the key to independent reporting is that a journalist is autonomous: “You talk to eighteen sources. You verify their statements. You try to paint an accurate story.” Someone would always intervene: “But who pays you?”</p><p>“The owner of your paper,” Ms Neurink would respond. “But you are independent of him.”</p><p>And the student would not let go. “If he pays you?”</p><p>Some believed in independent journalism. But to show this possibility to the journalists from the partisan media seemed impossible. At the end, Ms Neurink quit.</p><p>She believes that in Kurdistan, the distrust in possibility of impartial reporting and critical interviewing as if already springs from the “position of dependence” from which Kurdish journalists typically address their interviewees: “mamosta” (<em>teacher</em>).</p><p>For a host of reasons, neither journalists in the Visegrad countries typically see themselves as impartial reporters. Promoting a cause – whether it is nationalist, humanitarian or otherwise – “seems to be more common perception of journalists’ role”, Peter Bajomi-Lazar recently summarized a set of 28 interviews with Polish media practitioners.</p><p>A significant part of the public in the countries of the region, too, is sceptical about the idea of impartial journalism.</p><p>“Rightfully so perhaps. They have seen a lot,” says Jenne Jan Holtland, a foreign correspondent at Volkskrant covering Central and Eastern Europe. Mr Holtland recalls how when he was speaking with an editor-in-chief of an unnamed broadcaster, the editor would not believe the owners of Holtland’s paper don’t interfere with editorial matters.</p><p>“Maybe your seniors call you in the office to discuss the content of your article?”, the editor said with a smirk, implying “content discussion” would mean submitting to senior's pressure; never an assessment of the article's compliance with professional standards.</p><p>Some argue that engaged journalism – a journalism associated slightly more with a confirmation of existing views than with uncovering new information – is what audiences in Central and Eastern Europe want.</p><p>According to the last three Reuters Digital News Reports, about 15 % - 20 % fewer people in V4 countries trust in the news than, for instance, in Germany. – Except in Poland. There, the number is similar to that of its Western neighbour.</p><p>It is also in Poland where (private) media are perceived to put those in power to scrutiny. According to the latest Reuters Digital News Report, it is 52%, compared to 20% in Hungary.</p><p>So, isn’t the willingness to hold those in power to account at the end a key to increase trust in media in the other V4 countries?</p><p>Maybe.</p><p>Lower trust in media in general may also be associated with the fact that contemporary news make people depressed and exhausted, <a href="https://www.niemanlab.org/2019/06/why-do-some-people-avoid-news-because-they-dont-trust-us-or-because-they-dont-think-we-add-value-to-their-lives/?utm_source=SJN+Members+%5BHub%2BSolutionsU%5D&utm_campaign=0aba08ea36-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_11_27_06_41_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_7b57f9b709-0aba08ea36-425327981&mc_cid=0aba08ea36&mc_eid=e2534038c5" target="_blank">argues</a> Joshua Benton, director of Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard. <a href="https://www.solutionsjournalism.org/" target="_blank">Solutions journalism</a> may be a way how to make journalism more valuable for people.</p><h3>prelude to presentation of research findings on migration in the news</h3><p><img src="/img/articles/images/04Xt1cYKBgiqyNlK8ukk7FTHwgLIq9FL1r0974IW.png" width="406" style="display: inline; float: right; margin: 0px 0px 1em 1em;">Naturally, trust in media also differs within countries across brands. The following graph features brands that we included in a forthcoming <em>Datalyrics/CMDS </em>study on migration portrayal in primetime news in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Poland. In this study to be published later in October, we will describe some distinctive features of ARD’s news casting that may be contributing to the high level of trust the brand exhibits.</p><p>What’s particularly interesting about the graph are the differences between trust of all versus loyal users: when they are bigger, it signifies the brand attracts more partisan audience.</p>
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