Quebecers most confident in spotting false news, but score lowest on news literacy quiz:
Canadian Journalism Foundation
Less than one-third of Quebecers scored an A on a quiz; one in four Quebecers failed
TORONTO (May 26, 2021) Quebecers are the most confident among Canadians that they can identify false news, according to a new survey by the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF). Quebecers are also most likely among Canadians to watch or read the news on a daily basis, and place the greatest trust in journalists and politicians when it comes to news about COVID-19 and the vaccines. However, Quebecers also say they feel the least informed about the side effects of the vaccine, compared to the other provinces.
“Trust in news has become a public health issue,” said CJF Board Chair Kathy English. “With misinformation about vaccines readily available online, journalists provide trustworthy information that can inform life-saving decisions.”
The CJF survey included a quiz that measured people’s belief in some of the most prominent false stories about COVID-19 and the vaccine. Quebecers were least likely to score an A (at least 10 out of 12 questions correct) compared to any other region in Canada and more than a quarter of Quebecers failed altogether. Only 28 per cent of Canadians scored an A.
“Our research shows that those who trust media and journalists are more informed about the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines than those who mistrust media and get their information from other sources,” said Natalie Turvey, President and Executive Director of the CJF. “In addition, we found that 83 per cent of the people who scored highest on the quiz trust journalists to give them information about COVID and the vaccines, indicating that their news literacy is high.”
The research showed that 64 per cent of Quebecers will get the COVID vaccine as soon as it is available to them (higher than the national rate, which saw 61 per cent of Canadians say they will get a COVID-19 vaccine right away). Eight per cent of Quebecers say they never will get a vaccine. By comparison, Alberta has the highest number of people who will never be vaccinated (13 per cent).
Differences across Canada
- Quebecers are more likely to trust journalists (72 per cent) and politicians when it comes to news about COVID-19 and the vaccine. The Prairies and Alberta have the least trust in politicians and government authorities.
- Albertans say they are least informed about what is going on with COVID-19. However, they are most informed about the side effects of the vaccine (77 per cent). Ontarians are also well informed on this at 74 per cent, while Quebecers say they know the least (63 per cent).
- Quebecers are most likely to consume news daily (75 per cent), primarily television (56 per cent), but they are also more likely to read newspaper websites (36 per cent) and sponsored posts on social media (29 per cent) than the other provinces and territories. Albertans are least likely to consume news daily (61 per cent) among Canadians.
- Albertans are more likely to say they have shared false news (18 per cent) while Ontarians and Quebecers are least likely (13 per cent and 14 per cent respectively).
- Quebecers feel most confident in being able to spot false news (76 per cent), while British Columbians feel least confident (63 per cent).
On behalf of the CJF, this survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights. The survey was done online among a randomly selected, reliable sample of 2,013 adult (18+) Canada residents from March 3rd to 9th, 2021 and carries a margin of error of ± 2.2%.
“While there are some clear regional differences, what really jumps out to us is the importance of Canadians getting their news from credible sources and fact checking what they see,” said Craig Worden, President, Pollara Strategic Insights. “Where and how Canadians get their information, especially about COVID-19 and the vaccines, is clearly impacting their behaviour.”
“We’ve seen research in the past that suggests Canadians’ news literacy is on the upswing, and this is certainly encouraging,” said Turvey. “With the increased trust in news, Canadians are much more aware of the dangers of false news and the continuing need to seek out credible news sources and fact check everything they see. There is still work to do to combat misinformation, but the direction is encouraging.”
About The Canadian Journalism Foundation
Founded in 1990, The Canadian Journalism Foundation promotes, celebrates and facilitates excellence in journalism. The foundation runs a prestigious awards and fellowships program featuring an industry gala where news leaders, journalists and corporate Canada gather to celebrate outstanding journalistic achievement and the value of professional journalism. Through monthly J-Talks, a public speakers’ series, the CJF facilitates dialogue among journalists, business people, academics and students about the role of the media in Canadian society and the ongoing challenges for media in the digital era. The foundation also fosters opportunities for journalism education, training and research.
For more information or interviews with a CJF Spokesperson:
Jeri Brown, Media Profile
Natalie Turvey, President & Executive Director
The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF)