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Local newspapers ‘more trusted than all nationals except FT’

Reuters OxfordRegional and local newspapers are more trusted that all national print titles bar one, according to new research.

The annual digital news report produced by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford has found only the Financial Times beat regional print products for trust among those who have heard of the titles mentioned.

On a scale of 1-10, local and regional newspapers scored 6.4 for trust rating – ahead of The Times, Sky News, The Guardian, The Independent, the Daily Telegraph, HuffPost, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Mail, The Canary, Buzzfeed and The Sun, which scored just 3.92.

Only the FT with a score of 6.68, BBC News (6.85), ITV News (6.82), and Channel 4 News (6.66) scored a higher trust rating among 2,023 people surveyed.

Among people who actually used each brand, regional and local newspapers scored higher than HuffPost, the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Buzzfeed and The Sun.

However, higher ratings in that metric were achieved by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, the FT, Sky News, The Times, The Guardian, The Independent and the Daily Telegraph.

The study also found the The Sun and Daily Mail, as well as their Sunday counterparts, were the only national print titles accessed more by respondents than their regional or local newspaper.

Fifteen per cent of those surveyed said they used the Sun or Mail titles on at least a weekly basis, with 12pc saying they used a regional title over the same period of time.

In terms of online use, local newspaper websites were accessed on at least a weekly basis by 9pc of people – the same proportion who said they accessed the sites of The Sun and Daily Mirror.

The Mail and The Guardian’s online services were used at least once per week by 16pc and 15pc of respondents respectively.

Another finding of the report was that 35pc of people often or sometimes avoid the news in the UK – with most citing Brexit as their main reason for doing so.

The report states: “Avoiders say coverage negatively affects their mood or they feel powerless to affect events.

“Partly as a result, and with the exception of television, there has been no Brexit bounce for the media, with online usage flat and newspapers on the slide.”