Trust in journalists up in 2010: poll

Okay, perhaps that headline is a bit misleading. Maybe even a bit untrustworthy. But according to an Ipsos Reid poll (commissioned by Postmedia News and Global National), journalists have climbed the ranks of trusted professions…by one percent. That’s right folks, trust in journalists is now 31% (1,044 online respondents were polled, with a margin of error of +/-3.1).

(To compare, the ongoing war in Afghanistan has helped boost trust in Canadian soldiers: up 11% since 2003, making them, at 68%, the most trusted profession in the country, despite the recent Williams convictions.)

So, where does that leave us journos? The poll ranks us slightly above other wordbenders like lawyers, TV and radio personalities and national politicians. But we’re still less trustworthy than the traditional scapegoats: mechanics, chiropractors and financial advisors.
Trust poll
Meanwhile, pros that have long held the top spots on the  survey (last conducted in 2003) — pharmacists, doctors, pilots, teachers and police officers — have all lost significant cred in the eyes of the Canadians polled. While the study doesn’t offer reasons for the rise or fall, you can probably blame events like the G20 summit in Toronto and the rise of Google-enabled self diagnosis for at least some of the changes.

How did we earn that slight rise in respect? The survey doesn’t offer any suggestions. At least there were no trust-busting blockbusters a la Shattered Glass ruining our cred in 2010. It helps that Canadian journalists are willing to own up to their mistakes as well, and that people care enough to create projects like Report the Error.

How can we rise in the ranks? Short of purposefully discrediting certain fields of medicine with our writing, journalists can be more transparent, more investigative and less willing to accept the status quo. Patricia Elliott offers a list of journo new year resolutions you can start with.