Media trust over education stages

2 very interesting and connected surveys, from the Knight Foundation, to have a look at how free speech impacts trust in media over 2 important education stages: College and high school (in America): source Gallup/Knight Nov-Dec 2017 for colleges and Knight 2018 for high school.

Direction hints

As TrustedOut profiles medias, it’s important to get a sense on what’s going to happen and understand how young generations foresee how they are and will be consuming news.

Our findings

The First amendment challenge: Freedom of speech vs diversity and inclusion. both extremely important with 56% vs 52%…

“Students value both free expression and inclusion, though their commitment to free expression may be stronger in the abstract than in reality. Majorities of students say protecting free speech rights (56%) and promoting a diverse and inclusive society (52%) are extremely important to democracy. Students continue to prefer campuses be open learning environments that allow for a wide range of views to be heard than to prefer environments that prohibit certain types of potentially harmful speech, though not as widely as they did in 2016.” 

… but 61% refrain expressing their views because they are afraid others might take offense…

“… more students now (61%) than in 2016 (54%) agree that the climate on their campus prevents some students from expressing their views because they are afraid others might take offense.”

… So, “College students say campus expression has shifted online.”…

“More students say discussion of social and political issues mostly takes place on social media (57%), rather than in public areas of campus (43%). At the same time, an increasing percentage of college students agree that social media can stifle free expression because people fear being attacked or blocked by those who disagree with their views.”

… and “80% agree that the internet has been responsible for an explosion in hate speech.”.
Meanwhile, high school students agree at 89% that “people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions” driving an increased distrust in classic and social medias…

“Almost half (49 percent) of high school students and more than half of teachers (51 percent) say they have not much or not any trust in the media to report news accurately and fairly.” “Only 46 percent of students say they often use social media to get news, compared with 51 percent in 2016.”

… generating an increasing trust in citizen journalism.

“In 2018, 40 percent of students said they trusted content—pictures, videos and accounts—posted by people more than traditional news sources; this number grew from 26 percent in 2016. Teachers also show large increases in trust for citizen journalism efforts.”

Fake news are not a threat to democracy. For them.

“Unlike those who work in and cover the media 24/7, teens don’t really deem “fake news” as a threat to democracy. Just 21 percent of high school students view fake news as a significant threat to democracy. In contrast, 40 percent of teachers view it as a threat to democracy.”


Within the college students, we (TrustedOut) read an interesting shift in the Freedom of Speech vs inclusion balance in US campuses to avoid heated debates and move some of them online and to social media in particular. This eFreedom of speech releases some hates which may be contained within groups and develop its own echo chambers, but may also gain classic media over time.

Younger people in high school are, somewhat unsurprisingly, more opinionated with a strong attachment to the 1st amendment/democracy and a growing, stronger distrust in about all kinds of today established news vehicles. The citizen journalism they tend to privilege is, in reality, not new and, so far, unproven but at any rate, citizen journalism publications will have to incorporate into businesses to financially exist and get a legal status. At that point, they become a logo with values and defined readerships.

Both points above drive to even more information vehicles, more evolving and more granular and thus an even stronger need to have permanent profiling and reactive classifications. TrustedOut Corpus Intelligence is made for this.

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Freddy Mini

CEO & Co-founder