News media broadly trusted as source of coronavirus information, views of UK government response highly polarised

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In the first in a series of factsheets for the UK COVID-19 news and information project, Dr Richard Fletcher, Dr Antonis Kalogeropoulos and Professor Rasmus Kleis Nielsen examine people’s attitudes towards how news organisations, government and other institutions are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a survey fielded from 10 April to 14 April they found that:

  • More than one-third (37%) think that the news media is doing a good job of responding to coronavirus. This is higher than the equivalent figure for technology companies (15%) but lower than the figure for the NHS (92%) and the UK government (54%).
  • Approval for the government response is very polarised, with 82% of those on the political right saying they think the government has done a good job, compared to just 14% of those on the left.
  • Most people (60%) think that the BBC is doing a good job, and TV outlets like ITV (36%) Channel 4 (32%), and Sky (28%) get a higher proportion of positive evaluations than many newspapers. Most, but not all, major UK news outlets have net positive ratings.
  • More people are worried about the threat of coronavirus to the wider society (the economy, the health of the population, and life in their community) than to their own health or their own finances.
  • 39% think that the coronavirus situation in the UK is heading in the right direction, and 10% think the UK is on the wrong track. Just under half (45%) think the picture is mixed.

This is the first in a series of ten factsheets based on an ongoing online panel survey of a representative sample of the UK population. The survey was designed by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford to collect data on how people navigate news and information during the coronavirus pandemic and was fielded by YouGov.

Read the full report here.

Learn more about the UK COVID-19 news and information project here.