Public trust in Australian media among worst in the world

The Australian public’s trust in the media is lower than in virtually any other country, research released today by Edelman Public Relations suggests.

According to the survey, only 32% of the Australian  public trusts the media, compared to a global average of 49%.


However, the situation is a slight improvement on last year’s figure, which was 30%.

The only major countries in the survey – which involved 5000 interviews across 23 countries – where distrust in the media was worse were the US and UK.

Trust in the media was higher in countries such as China, Singapore and Indonesia.

Globally, media is the least trusted of all of the industries examined in the survey with just 28% having faith. At the top of the list was technology with 68% trust.

edelman_trust_in_industriesMeanwhile,when it comes to sources of information about companies, magazines are the most trusted medium, according to the survey.


And the most trusted media brand when a consumer wants to know about a company is Google, says the survey.


Public trust in Australia’s banks is also low, according to Edelman, with just 33% of the public saying they have faith.

However, public trust in CEOs, government and wider busienss is on the up in Australia.

Edelman Australia CEO Michelle Hutton discusses the findings:

Further details of the sruvey are available here.


  1. Wolfie Rankin
    14 Feb 11
    2:00 pm

  2. Google at the top, eh? Maybe they surveyed the same people who think Internet Explorer is “that icon that makes the internet go”.


  3. reevesy
    14 Feb 11
    2:05 pm

  4. Nice pick – up i blogged about this research last week too.

  5. Tom
    14 Feb 11
    2:32 pm

  6. Have to agree – listing Google (an aggregator) alongside actual content sources seems to imply a malformed survey.

  7. Matthew Gain
    14 Feb 11
    2:55 pm

  8. Hi Wolfie and Tim,

    Matthew here – I work at Edelman.

    The survey question that generated the table above asked:

    “Please tell me the names of specific sources you rely on most for information about companies”.

    The question required an unaided response.

    Whilst I understand your comments about Google not being a content producer, it does highlight how highly people consider Google a source of information.

    The outtake for me of this is that companies should be focused on ensuring the results returned on searches around their name are positive. If they didn’t realise that already of course…

  9. Wayne
    14 Feb 11
    3:31 pm

  10. “Trust in the media was higher in countries such as China, Singapore and Indonesia!” Aren’t they all state run monopolies that shoot you if you dare disagree? Having travelled to a lot of these countries with heavily government censored medias, I’ll take the ‘dodgy’ Aussie variety any day of the week! (Now if The Herald could just bring back ‘Bristow’ in the comics!)

  11. Thinkun
    14 Feb 11
    3:57 pm

  12. Not necessarily malformed. This could be seen to imply that a large number of respondents did not care about (or know of or remember) the actual content providers. All they know is that Google got them that info.

  13. Nick
    14 Feb 11
    4:15 pm

  14. Maybe I’m being picky, but the question that was actually asked that led to Google being the top response was about who the respondents relied on, not trusted. The actual question was:

    “Please tell me the names of the specific sources you rely on most for information about companies”

    People rely on Google to search for information. I think that’s very different to “trusting a media brand”.

  15. SK
    14 Feb 11
    4:51 pm

  16. Interesting findings and makes one wonder if company CEO’s/management and government are being credited with riding their cos and countries thru the GFC’s faster and relatively unscathed in some instances. However, the headline (~possibly from Edelman’s press release) as well as reference to “Australians” and “Aust public” might be a bit misleading – see this link –

    Edelman interviews a SEGMENT of the public that it calls the “informed” public (as opposed to mis-informed and un-informed !!) – that too the top quartile by income. Nothing wrong with that if that was the objective, except it may not be representative of the wider public or population of Australians!!

  17. Brad
    14 Feb 11
    6:08 pm

  18. Trust in politicians and CEOs is up? What part of FAIL planet does this survey come from?

  19. The Internetz
    14 Feb 11
    10:24 pm

  20. I’m really surprised Yahoo!7 is in the top 10 list for sources of company information. isn’t even on the radar, which is fairly bizarre given the top-tier media brands that sit within it.

    Also, on the subject of search reputation management, does Edelman provide support around SEM programs for clients or even some form of consultation as to where to place news and stories for the most SEO friendly results? Recognising the value of search results to a company’s reputation is one thing, providing the counsel to improve it is another.

    The AU results Trust Barometer video has great production values, but maybe an auto-prompter would be a good next investment for your production team? 😉 Michelle’s a great speaker, so it’d be great to see her in action rather than reading from paper. Just a thought!

  21. Matthew Gain
    15 Feb 11
    7:15 am

  22. SK – you’re right the survey only represents a portion of the Australian population not the Australian population at large. If you want to see how we represented the research check out –

    Brad – the 2010 survey was conducted at the height of Stimulus Spending which was highly polarizing. Likewise the last survey was conducted when the threat of a double dip recession loomed large across the world from a business perspective. I was at first surprised to see the increase of trust amongst government, but the results are what they are.

    Internetz – I suspect Yahoo7! Is there in its search engine capacity. On your search comment we certainly do provide advice. I wouldn’t position ourselves as SEM or SEO experts, but we definitely consult on this and seek the advice of experts where the need requires. On the video – I will let Michelle know. We have already been giving her a hard time about her reliance on the paper! :-)

  23. Diddums
    15 Feb 11
    9:16 am

  24. Sucko mendacious marketers!

  25. SK
    15 Feb 11
    11:27 am

  26. Thanks Mathew. I do understand how Edelman have tried to represent the survey findings. What I am referring too is eg the headline “PUBLIC trust in Australian media among worst in the world”
    and the content itself ” The AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC’s trust in the media is lower …….” (presumably this is only following your press releases and Mumbrella has not edited bits and pieces out )
    As a result most comments here at Mumbrella and elsewhere, seem to infer that these findings represent the Australian public (and other countries too) –
    This could also be one of the reasons why many of the comments are circumspect about the key findings related to governement and CEOS !! Does Edelman ever plan to interview the larger Australian public or do they think that the public is not well informed / not eleigible to participate?

  27. Graham Fraser
    15 Feb 11
    1:12 pm

  28. I’m surprised it’s that high. The Australian media is just like a dog turd, to be avoided.

  29. NickE
    15 Feb 11
    2:23 pm

  30. So state run/censored media like China and Singapore rank highest for trust over countries that have an uncensored media with relative freedom?

    It’s an interesting result, but without the actual methodologies, this survey is hard to interpret, much like most surveys emanating from PR companies.

    Assuming an even split between countries, the sample size per country would only be 220 or so. That’s not that big.

    Where’s the measurements of standard error, for example? Is the SMH result actually statistically different from the AFR result, for example? Who knows!

  31. Matthew Gain
    15 Feb 11
    4:47 pm

  32. SK – The headline here was developed by Mumbrella – presumably Tim. As much as us PR people may think otherwise, it is rare the headlines on press releases are used by the media. You can see our media release here – . The rise and fall in the stats is against data collected in previous years. We have been doing the Trust survey here in Aus for three years and 11 globally. This particular study only looks at a portion of the public, but that of course doesn’t mean the rest of the population matter less.

    Nick E – you can read about the methodology here –

  33. SK
    16 Feb 11
    10:00 am

  34. Thanks Matthew. It would be interesting to see in future surveys how the public view (that matters no less, as you say) measures up to the opinion influencer’s views. From the (public) comments here, it seems the views are likel;y to be quite different.

  35. SK
    16 Feb 11
    10:04 am

  36. Thanks Matthew. It ‘d be interesting to see how the views of the public (that matter no less as you say) compares to the views of the so-called influencers. Going by the comments here the wider view is likely to be very different to the survey findings !!

  37. Researcher
    17 Feb 11
    12:38 am

  38. Another shocking example of how not to publish research.

    As soon as I saw the sample size I dismissed the findings out of hand. 5,000 interviews across 23 countries. This included countries like China. I would probably be just about comfortable if 5,000 was just the sample for China. If the sample for each country was proportionate to the population of each of the countries included the sample for Australia could be counted on my fingers with the possible inclusion of a toe.

    This is shameless use of research to generate PR.

    I also have a nasty feeling the survey was conducted with an online access panel which makes any cross media comparison (particularly if that includes online) redundant and extremely unsafe.

    Tell us what the sample size is and tell us how the survey was conducted. Don’t sell your readers short by publishing this rubbish.

  39. Matthew Gain
    17 Feb 11
    10:08 am

  40. Researcher – we have always been transparent about the methodology used. Evidence in the fact I have already posted it in the comments above. You can read it for yourself here –