Trust, media and democracy

Knight Topic

How are Americans navigating the changing media landscape and what does that mean for our democracy?

Strong, trusted journalism is essential to a healthy democracy. And yet, trust in American institutions, like the press, is lower than ever. At Knight Foundation, we're exploring these trends through research, and grantmaking. 

    In January 2018, the Gallup-Knight Foundation report on Trust, Media and Democracy was released, providing one of the most extensive and in-depth looks at the elements of trust in media at a time of significant disruption. The report which surveyed 19,196 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, revealed that most Americans believe it is now harder to be well-informed and to determine which news is accurate. They increasingly see the media as biased and struggle to identify objective news sources. Read the report

    Gallup research series

    Building on this work, Gallup conducted an additional survey and further experiments to explore how people interact with the news-- specifically, their views on misinformation, bias and the accuracy of news, as well as the sources they find trustworthy or not.

    Part of Knight Foundation’s Trust, Media and Democracy initiative, the studies aim to advance a deeper understanding of the public’s relationship with the media and shape solutions to improve the flow of accurate information, prevent the spread of misinformation, and better inform communities. In this way, we can move toward addressing the challenges affecting a strong and free press and, ultimately, our democracy.

      <p><em>From the survey findings of the Gallup report on <a href="">major internet companies as news editors</a>.</em></p>

      From the survey findings of the Gallup report on major internet companies as news editors.

      The Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy

      In 2017, Knight Foundation and The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program established the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy. Currently, trust in the major institutions of American democracy has fallen to troubling lows amid a rapidly changing information ecosystem. Without trust, democracy cannot function. It is, therefore, the Commission’s charge to examine the causes and consequences of a collapse in trust in democratic institutions, with a focus on trust in the media, journalism and the information ecosystem. In addition, the Commission seeks to identify the perennial and emerging values and social obligations that should guide those who produce, distribute and consume news and information to ensure a functioning democracy.

      Meet the commissioners:

      Tony Marx, Co-chair

      Tony Marx, Co-chairThe New York Public Library

      Jamie Woodson, Co-Chair

      Jamie Woodson, Co-ChairState Collaborative On Reforming Education