PETALING JAYA: An annual worldwide study of news trends has ranked The Star as the top English-language news portal in brand trust scores in Malaysia among surveyed brands.
The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2021, its 10th edition in an annual series, found that when it comes to brand trust scores in Malaysia, news channel Astro Awani and The Star scored 70% and 65% respectively.
In the local portion of the report, Prof Zaharom Nain of the Centre for the Study of Communications and Culture, University of Nottingham Malaysia campus, wrote that overall trust in various media had increased considerably over the past two years.
"The pandemic and lockdowns have resulted in greater dependence on main news sources for information on the threats and challenges of the virus," he observed.
Apart from The Star, TV9 News and Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) also earned a 65% trust score.
This was followed by TV3 News (64%), regional or local newspaper (63%), Berita Harian (62%) and Malaysiakini, who shared the same score with Sinar Harian at 60%.
This is for those who have heard of the brands.
To establish the trust scores, survey respondents were asked to indicate their trust in selected news brands on a scale of 0 (completely untrustworthy) to 10 (completely trustworthy).
They also had the option of choosing "I have not heard of this brand". The trust scores were calculated after excluding those who claimed not to have heard of the brand in question.
In an executive summary of the report, lead author Nic Newman said the Covid-19 crisis has shown the value of accurate and reliable information at a time when lives are at stake.
Other key findings showed that trust in the news has grown, on average, by six percentage points in the wake of the pandemic – with 44% of the total sample saying they trust most news most of the time.
The messaging app, Telegram, is also experiencing rapid growth and attracting more news use, as reflected in The Star's introduction of its official Telegram channel to share Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights.
"Telegram usage has doubled in some countries over the last year and is used for news by 23% in Nigeria, 20% in Malaysia, and 18% in Indonesia," the report noted.
Based on a YouGov survey of over 92,000 online news consumers, the 2021 report covers 46 markets and includes India, Indonesia, Thailand, Nigeria, Colombia and Peru for the first time.
The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism is a research centre at the University of Oxford that tracks media trends.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Thomson Reuters, funds the Reuters Institute.