How Covid-19 is affecting trust in journalism and the media

Coronavirus is only heightening the challenges facing journalists and media brands, but is also bringing trust and accuracy more to the fore.

Journalists are faced with new challenges each year, as the old media landscape continues to evolve into an increasingly fluid digital ecosystem of competing platforms and outlets. Add a global pandemic into the mix and suddenly everyone’s beat has switched over to the coronavirus narrative.

In a time of uncertainty, there is at least one thing for sure; it’s already been a unique and exceptional year for journalists – and it’s only April. As journalists find themselves strapped for resources, the relationship between them and PR professionals looks to have a very promising future ahead.

Covid-19: the impact

Since coronavirus became a global pandemic, dominating the news and changing everyone’s day-to-day life, journalism has of course been one of many industries affected.

Some themes in particular became apparent in making working life run smoothly. The use of email to pitch to journos has become even more important now, with heavy workloads to consider; expert video interviews are highly regarded in a time when we’re all on our devices at home; and new (positive) angles on Covid-19 stories are growing popular during the crisis.

Media ecosystem

The media ecosystem continues to be challenging this year – and that was before the pandemic. Measuring success is a factor changing the media environment.

With data developing, more organisations are looking for direct links to revenue impact – and content is under observation. Being able to prove that content is leading to subscriptions rather than potentially unread shares by third parties is now more valuable than ever.

(Dis)trust in the media

In the eyes of journalists, the public’s trust in the media is increasing. According to our 2020 global data, journalists believe that eliminating themselves from the ‘fake news’ stigma means ensuring content is 100% accurate. Much like the views expressed in last year’s report, providing correct content is seen as more important than revenue, exclusivity, or being the first to publish the story.


Social media algorithms are, unsurprisingly, the newest technology impacting journalism today. The modern journalist may find themselves competing with the social media content flow while juggling their other interests, such as reporting on the facts and the truth of a story, as well as seeking to increase readership and engagement with their work (often via social channels).

While social media algorithms are demanding more and more attention, the relevance of artificial intelligence and machine learning seems to be impacting journalists significantly less, according to this year’s data.


Cision’s 2020 ‘State of the Media’ report confirms that journalism continues to be a tumultuous field, heightened by the pandemic. It highlights that the trust the media has been working to regain with the public is now having an impact in where people go for their virus updates.

In the light of Covid-19, challenges like a lack of resources and staff are even more straining. Combine this with existing daily challenges such as social media algorithms and reporting, and journalists are busier than ever before.

This has been a remarkable and unforgettable year for the media so far, and there’s still so much more to come.

To find out more insights from Cision’s ‘State of the Media’ report, click here to sign up and join our webinar at 3pm BST on 23 April, or to stream it on demand after the event.

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