Trust in media decreases, but newspapers and real news remain important


All around the nation, as we face unprecedented attacks on facts and reality, we are seeing a rebirth of journalism and a renewed interest in journalism. Here at Martin Waymire, we want to join that growing wave that says it’s time to recognize the value that fact-based journalism has in providing citizens the information they need to understand the world through our 2017 “MW Gives Project.”

Trusting the News

Research shows that the percentage of people who respond that they trust the information they get from national and local news organizations “a lot” is only about a third of readers – and that’s among Democrats. Republicans and Independents are barely into double digits when it comes to trusting the national news media a lot, and only a quarter to a fifth of those two groups say that about their local news organizations. An awful lot of people think they’re getting their news from Facebook, even though most of what they read is from news organizations whose articles get posted on the social media site.

There’s no doubt that the sheer volume of news is changing how readers and viewers view it. Back in 1970, Republicans and Democrats had basically the same level of trust in the media, according to Matt Grossman, director of Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. That began to change in the 1980s as distrust of the media grew faster among Republicans than Democrats, although Grossman said distrust of the media has always been fairly high among Americans.

Journalism Matters

Still, here at Martin Waymire, we feel that newspapers play a vital part in letting citizens know what’s happening in their communities, their state, their nation and their world. And we think Michigan residents can learn a lot from their local newspapers — both paper and online — including The Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, the Lansing State Journal, MLive Media Group and Bridge Magazine, the news outlets we’re supporting with our “MW Gives Project” this year.

That’s partly because four of us — partners Roger Martin and Dave Waymire, as well as Senior Account Executives Kathy Barks Hoffman and Jessica Tramontana — are former journalists who worked at news organizations including The Detroit News, the Flint Journal, The Associated Press, WOOD-TV, Booth Newspapers, the Lansing State Journal and elsewhere. We understand the media’s role as a watchdog on what government is doing, and on letting you know what’s happening in your community, whether that’s the latest high school and college sports scores, what’s happening at the courthouse or City Hall, or information about a new start-up business, restaurant or movie.

So the next time you want to know about what’s happening in court or a nearby university, what lawmakers are doing with state dollars and new laws in Lansing, who wants to be Michigan’s next governor or where the Wolverines, Spartans and Chippewas will be playing in college football bowl games, open a newspaper, online or at your kitchen table.

You may not be interested in every article. But we think real news — journalism — matters. And we’re going to work hard this holiday season to let even more people gain the gift of knowing what’s happening around them.