Audience Engagement Digital Publishing
2 mins read

Podcast: CJR’s Mathew Ingram on what publishers get wrong about trust

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In the latest Media Voices podcast, Mathew Ingram, media writer for the Columbia Journalism Review, explains why publishers need to take a more human approach to their memberships, the role of platforms in disrupting those relationships, and whether ‘trust’ is a meaningful metric.

Key takeaways include:

  • Trust is a vague term and measuring trust is a complex issue. For publisher purposes, it isn’t about the point-of-view a media brand espouses but rather that the reader ‘gets what they expect from their chosen media outlets‘. Some people will trust Breitbart, some will trust the Guardian.
  • Facebook’s ‘trust index’ is flawed because “we don’t know what their algorithm is based on” …. “It’s black magic and no one has any clue how it operates – all you can see is the output”. If anything, Facebook merely reflects a person’s existing confirmation bias.
  • Being transparent is the best approach to developing reader trust – something that doesn’t come naturally to media organisations
  • Most of the social media platforms are partly culpable for the crisis in trust because for years they chased clicks and traffic at the expense of authenticated news. To suddenly switch tack in the way they have is a little disingenuous.
  • Publishers should not just be looking at unique visitors but rather repeat visitors, which is a far better gauge of content quality and overall reader engagement. A good attitude is, “What is it that I am doing well, so I can do more of it” rather than “Did I make a sale”.

In the news roundup, the Media Voices team try to spy a way of regulating the tech platforms. The gang also discuss the closure of yet another celebrity gossip magazine, and what Immediate Media’s purchase of BBC Good Food says about both companies’ priorities.

You can catch the Media Voices team next week in Edinburgh, Scotland, at MagFest where they will be also hosting a ‘podcasting for beginners‘ masterclass.