Change of power in media influence
Communication theory says that the media is the message - in other words, information can not be separated from the channel through which it flows. The information and the channel form a whole and circulate together, with different superpowers. Fragile information circulating on a channel with visibility and credibility becomes powerful. The same information, slipped into the obscurity of a channel without power, will go unnoticed. This is why information forms a living organism together with the channel it flows through.
Romanians relate differently to today's media. Trust or lack of it, interest or lack of it, have formed a different code of reporting to the media than we were used to in previous years.
Today, Romanians prefer digital entertainment sources, such as a movie night at home, rather than spending their evenings connected to media sources. Romanians consume a lot of content online but not that generated by media channels. And we can see this very well from the fact that Romanians' trust in the media is very low: only 11% of Romanians invest high trust in media -the top three places are SMURD - 43%, the Army - 30% and the Romanian Orthodox Church with 23%.
The Hunters survey indicates that trust in the media is on a downward slope from 16% in 2022 to 11% in 2023.
In terms of trust in media channels, television is top for 19% of those surveyed, followed by online publications with 14%. Social media, vlogs and blogs fail to make it past 10% in the trust rankings. 23% of Romanians say they do not trust any media source.
However, despite the trust that TV still enjoys, the most widely used medium remains the internet, with 91% of Romanians using it most often. Television is a distant second at 78%, followed by radio at 58% and print media at just 27%. Trust in the internet is strengthened by the fact that people choose content there and can check information from many sources. Television remains largely processed audio-visual content and therefore easier to watch.
The most trusted online media sources for Romanians are WhatsApp, 17%, Youtube with 16% or Facebook with 15%.
Digital versatility has allowed the emergence of increasingly diverse media formations, large trusts or independent initiatives. The quality of a press material that builds legitimacy in the eyes of Romanians is the sufficiency of the arguments presented as well as the variety of sources - more than 51% of Romanians mentioning this condition as sine qua non for the quality of the press material. In second place, Romanians mentioned quoting official sources, with41%, followed by live broadcasts, with40%.
One of the surprises of the survey was that Romanians have more trust in independent media today: 31% of Romanians believe that independent initiatives such as Recorder, RiseProject, Europa Libera or Press One, are the most trusted media channels. On the second place,24% of Romanians place the big trusts such as Pro TV, Antena, Digi24 or Mediafax. A big gap between the two places is the area of freelancing, where only 10% of Romanians trust people like Cristian Tudor Popescu or Emilia Sercanor small media trusts like Hotnews or Stiripesurse with only 9%.
Also, the idea of podcasts is increasingly being seen as a priority when it comes to information. It is the idea of taking on personal vulnerabilities in the key of life experience, as sincere shared-service, that brings Romanians closer to podcasts and makes them consider them as an increasingly viable source of information and information.
"Media is the message" is the principle that gives power to information. We are on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution. The Internet and artificial intelligence are already bringing us closer to being able to discern between the information wended and the information we don't, between the arguments we need and the arguments we don't care about.
In recent decades, the need for information has not changed its DNA, the one founded by communication theorist sat the dawn of the last century. But quality criteria have. The technology, the Ai, the industrial revolutions and the fragility of the current order in which we live will increase the need to improve quality criteria in the area of clarity and honesty and social utility. How we will relate to media and information soon is fundamentally important to how we develop as a species.