Trust us for accuracy and balance — ‘ODT’ tops rankings

The Otago Daily Times has retained its ranking as the most trusted newspaper in the country and has also moved to the top of the news brand rankings with RNZ and TVNZ, according to the latest report from the Auckland University of Technology research centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy (JMAD).

The report warned that general trust in the news and news brands was continuing to erode.

In 2023, general trust in news declined from 45% to 42%, continuing a downward trend that was already evident in 2020 when the survey was first conducted.

However, in 2023, the trust in news people consume themselves increased from 52% to 53%.

For the first time, the survey asked about news avoidance and found news avoidance in New Zealand was high when compared internationally.

While New Zealanders are interested in news, about 69% avoid news often, sometimes or occasionally.

"People are avoiding the news because they find it depressing, negative and it is increasing their anxiety. Many people also find news repetitive, boring and overly dramatic," JMAD co-director and report co-author Dr Merja Myllylahti said.

The other author of the report, Dr Greg Treadwell, urged newsrooms to "put regaining trust among their audiences at the top of their agenda for the sake of our democracy".

Editor-in-chief of the ODT Barry Stewart was delighted the newspaper had held and improved its reputation for fair and balanced reporting.

"There has perhaps never been a time when journalism is more important and when there is a need for a robust and scrutinising media.

"Journalists at the Otago Daily Times and Allied Press’ community titles, and at other media organisations around the country, strive every day to tell the truth about what is happening.

"We do this so readers can make their own minds up about the performance of, say, a council or government or organisation, or the suitability for office of a prime minister, a local-body councillor, a chief executive or community leader.

"News stories are written by reporters whose modus operandi is to act independently and objectively, fairly, accurately and in a balanced way.

"That builds trust and we are delighted that has been recognised by our readers."

Allied Press chief executive Grant McKenzie acknowledged the performance of journalists throughout the group, saying the ODT’s standing and reputation has been hard-earned over 162 years of serving its community.

"Our hard-working and dedicated team of reporters, photographers, subeditors and video journalists strive every day to tell the stories and provide news which has deep integrity.

"Running a newsroom costs money, but we are ever mindful of our obligations and we go the extra distance to serve our community."