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Yearbook Jan 2019

30 yearbook 2019 Newspapers global Trust crucial for both audience numbers and revenue Whatever the size, shape or location of a new media company, whether print or digital, trust matters. FRANÇOIS NEL delivers the news. T rust matters, not just in headlines, but also for the bottom line. That’s the hard François Nel, editor of the WAN-IFRA nugget of truth all news publishers on all platforms have to hold dear. When we were asked to take over the World Press Trends study, the WAN-IFRA team challenged us to deliver insights beyond the usual market trends. We started by asking ourselves and some leading industry figures, including Lisa MacLeod at Tiso Blackstar Group in South Africa, ‘What are the most pressing industry issues?’ Everyone was concerned about two things: the levels of trust in the media, and the sustainability of the press. That’s when we decided to look at the relationship between the two by drawing on the Edelman Trust Index and other data we collected about news media organisations’ performances in terms of print and digital revenues, circulations, readership and more. The results of the statistical analysis were unequivocal: There is a very strong link between trust and the business bottom line. Our analysis shows there is a significant positive relationship between trust and digital and print audience numbers, as well as income from digital and print advertising and circulation sales. Vincent Peyrègne, CEO of WANIFRA, stressed: “For the press, securing a trusted relationship with its audience is not only an economic imperative, but also a social and democratic obligation. This year’s World Press Trends analysis shows that a lack of trust can cost publishers where it hurts most – their audiences and advertisers, therefore impacting revenues. And, perhaps more profoundly, it is potentially costing them a central and pivotal role in their communities and society at large.” This underlines that users reward journalists with trust when they are seen to be constructive members of communities. That, as (UK) The Guardian editor Katharine Viner recently noted, in a speech to the UK Society of Editors, “If people long to create a better world, then at The Guardian we must use our platform to World Press Trends report develop ideas, not just critiques. We cannot just criticise the status quo; we must also explore the new ideas that might displace it.” This approach, Viner said, is one of the key reasons The Guardian is growing editorially – and financially. But what can news publishers do to bolster trust? In addition to the significant statistical evidence that trust impacts revenue, the report also identifies other key performance indicators from 2017. Here are some of them: • While trust in media may be at an all-time low, the same cannot be said about trust in journalists, and quality journalism appears to be on the rise, particularly when compared to platforms. • Users are far more likely to land directly on publishers’ sites (primarily via mobile) than they


Yearbook Jan 2019
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