Tuesday, 20 Jan 2015 02:58 PM
By Jennifer G. Hickey

When looking for the latest headlines or other information, more people are bypassing the sites where "news is fit to print" in favor of online search engines, according to a global survey of 27,000 individuals conducted by Edelman, a public relations firm.

According to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, media as an institution is distrusted by 60 percent of countries and for the first time, online search engines are now a more trusted source for general news and information (64 percent) than traditional media (62 percent).

Journalists can take little consolation in the fact that while the report found trust in numerous institutions has fallen to levels not seen since the Global Recession of 2009,
"there has been a startling decrease in trust across all institutions driven by the unpredictable and unimaginable events of 2014. The spread of Ebola in West Africa; the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, plus two subsequent air disasters; the arrests of top Chinese Government officials; the foreign exchange rate rigging by six global banks; and numerous data breaches, most recently at Sony Pictures by a sovereign nation, have shaken confidence," said Richard Edelman, president and CEO, Edelman in a press release.

Edelman found that among educated millennials, a majority (72 percent) believes online search engines, such as Google, to be more trustworthy, compared with the 64 percent who have similar feelings about "traditional media."

Getting an at-a-glance look at a wide range of stories deemed relevant by a search-engine algorithm — be they from traditional news outlets, blogs, advertisements, and much else besides — is more comforting to the curious reader, it seems, than simply pulling up a single news outlet's site (or indeed picking up a newspaper or turning on the TV)," observes John McDuling of Quartz.

Trust in the media has been on a declining trend, reaching all-time lows, according to Gallup.

According to a September 2014 Gallup survey, only 40 percent of Americans said they had confidence in the media's ability to report the news "fully, accurately, and fairly."

"Though a sizable percentage of Americans continue to have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media, Americans' overall trust in the Fourth Estate continues to be significantly lower now than it was 10 to 15 years ago," says Gallup analyst Justin McCarthy.