In the past, we asked the audience for trust (and money). There was an exchange of news in return. Thus, the BBC points to ‘trust’ ratings as a way of sanctioning its public subsidy.
Yet, as Adrian Monck has pointed out, this was not really the whole point of news. News has always been about entertainment, distraction, partisan persuasion, and relativism as well as ‘truth’.
There was no Golden Age when journalists were seen as impartial conveyors of reality. Trust was always conditional. Along with politicians and most authority figures and institutions, journalism is questioned now to a greater degree than ever before. I welcome that.
Charlie Beckett, from a chapter in a new book, Beyond Trust, edited by John Mair.