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Online Canadians trust information from media more than other sources: report

A survey suggests Canadian web users may not want to pay for news, but they still trust content from the mainstream media over other sources.

The latest report from the Canadian Media Research Consortium states that about 90 per cent of wired Canadians consider the information they get from newspapers, television, radio and online news sites to be reliable. The percentages were a few points lower among those aged 18 to 34.

Only 26 per cent believed information from social networks is reliable - although the trust rating jumped to 40 per cent among daily social media users - and 65 per cent said they thought news from family and friends was reliable.

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When asked how much they trusted information from governments or major corporations, only 42 per cent and 38 per cent respectively found them very trustworthy or trustworthy.

When it comes to citizen journalism, news published online by non-professionals, most believed it was best left to traditional reporters. Only 20 per cent believed citizen journalism could provide regular coverage of government, 21 per cent believed it could expose abuses of power and 23 per cent believed it could provide analysis of important events. Confidence in citizen journalism was higher among the 18-34 age group, with 40 per cent believing it could provide Canadian perspective and 37 per cent thinking it could provide the story behind headlines.

The national online survey of 1,682 adults was conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion last August and is considered accurate within plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The consortium used the same survey to release three other reports on trends and also found that only four per cent of Canadians were willing to pay for news online. An overwhelming 81 per cent said they definitely would not pay.

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