John Harrington
Mar 17, 2020

Officials and journalists 'least trusted' for coronavirus news: Edelman

Sixty-three percent of respondents said they would believe information from their employers after one or two exposures, versus 58% for a government website and 51% for traditional media.

Presenters Savannah Guthrie and Stephanie Ruhle discuss the coronavirus on an American TV programme .
Presenters Savannah Guthrie and Stephanie Ruhle discuss the coronavirus on an American TV programme .

According to Edelman's Trust Barometer, more people believe information from their employers then from government websites and traditional media. 

That's according to a special report into the coronavirus from the Edelman Trust Barometer, which surveyed 10,000 people on March 6 through 10 in 10 countries: Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, the UK and the US.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said they would believe information from their employers after one or two exposures, versus 58% for a government website and 51% for traditional media.

The most-trusted sources of information were scientists and “my doctor”—83% and 82%, respectively—while 85% want to hear more from scientists and less from politicians.

There is also a reliance on communities: 63% view “a person like yourself” as a trusted source of information.

The "CEO of my employer” falls squarely in the middle as a trusted source.

In addition, in eight of the 10 countries surveyed, “my employer” is seen as better prepared for the virus than the respondent's country; 62% trust “my employer” to respond effectively and responsibly to the virus.

But employees expect transparency from employers. They want clarity on a range of topics, including how many colleagues have contracted the virus (57%) to how the virus is affecting the organisation’s ability to operate (53%).

Employees want to be informed beyond the effect on the company, including advice on travel and what can be done to stop the spread of the virus. Their preferred medium for getting this information is via email or newsletter (48%), followed by posts on the company website (33%) and phone/video conferences (23%).

In addition, 63% want daily updates from their employers, and 20% want communications several times a day. 

People trust business and government to act effectively in partnership more than they trust either entity alone. The survey found 45% trust a combined business/government effort, while 20% trust government combatting the virus alone. Business alone is one-quarter as trusted as government alone in fighting the virus.

Expectations of businesses are high: 78% of respondents expect businesses to act to protect employees and the local community, while 79% expect firms to adapt their operations, including remote working, cancelling non-essential events and business travel bans.

A similar proportion (73%) count on business to adapt HR policies; for example, by giving paid sick leave or preventing at-risk employees from coming to work.

Meanwhile, concern about fake news and false information about coronavirus is also high: 74% of respondents share this concern.

Despite this, the public relies on mainstream news organisations nearly twice as much as global health organisations such as the World Health Organization and national counterparts. Social media is the least-trusted source of information in developed markets.

People are checking for information frequently, the survey also reports.

Seven in 10 respondents check at least once per day, and 33% check several times a day. People check more frequently in Italy, South Korea and Japan, which have had major outbreaks.

Source:
PRWeek

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