February 6, 2009, 7:53 am

TNS has reported that online news sites are now second only to recommendations from friends as the nation’s primary trusted source of information, according to new research unveiled today by TNS.

Online news is ‘highly trusted’* by two fifths (40%) of those polled – second only to recommendations from friends which is the most trusted with almost half (45%) of respondents in the study stating that they highly trusted this source. Three quarters (75%) of UK respondents stated that they had ‘looked up the news’ when asked what they had done online in the last month – further emphasising the ascendancy of online news sites. The story of online news seems to be globally widespread with an average of two fifths (40%) across all 16 countries in the report trusting online news in this way.

We still seem to trust television news, as almost two fifths (38%) claimed to highly trust this medium in the UK. However, there were some differences across some of the countries with just under a quarter (24%) of Italians and French in the report highly trusting their television news.

When it comes to newspapers TNS observed that less than a quarter (23%) of UK respondents ‘highly trusted’ newspapers. In fact the UK gave the lowest score in this respect with an average of just under two fifths (39%) of respondents across all 16 countries highly trusting newspapers. The traditional press seemed to be most trusted by respondents in Finland (69%), Japan (50%), Sweden (49%) and most interestingly, China (49%).

We seem to be slightly more critical of others web-based resources such as blogs with just 6% of Brits highly trusting a private blog, compared to all the other countries surveyed (average of 10%) – making this the least trustworthy way of understanding the world around us. Wikipedia (24%) is as highly trusted as newspapers (23%) by UK respondents although some countries are even more trusting of this source with just over half (52%) of German respondents highly trusting this online source of information.

Arno Hummerston, Managing Director, TNS Global Interactive, said: “It’s interesting to see how trusted online news is – with consumers clearly understanding the difference between which online channels can be trusted and which cannot. Instead of fighting the web revolution, newspapers seem to be trying to move their business models online, and it seems as though the combination of quality content and a recognised brand name is working, with readership figures of most national newspaper websites up over the last year.”

* highly trusted is defined as giving a score of 8,9 or 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is ‘Do not trust at all’ and 10 is ‘trust completely’

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