Examining the relationship between trust and online usage of news media
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This study tests the relationship between overall trust and online usage of 35 popular United States news sources. Trust of news media, currently at its lowest percentage in Gallup’s 45-year polling history, has both brand and financial impacts; as news organizations employ strategies to rebuild trust, knowing the relationship between trust and usage can help them measure the effectiveness of their efforts. A series of regression models using three months of pooled cross-sectional data of trust measures from the Pew Research Center and usage measures from ComScore found a positive, statistically significant relationship between trust and direct traffic, but it found no association between trust and frequent usage. When testing how additional variables moderated the relationship between trust and frequent traffic, the study found no evidence that having a multiplatform presence or political ideology impacted the relationship. It found evidence in one month that being a mainstream news source could impact this relationship, but results are overall inconclusive.