Most Finns trust the media – but numbers are falling

New research shows how Finns are consuming news, and which news brands they trust the most.

File imagine of vide screens / Credit: iStock

Most Finns trust most of the media, most of the time. But the numbers are falling.

That’s one of the key findings from the 2019 Digital News Report research carried out by the Reuters Institute at the University of Oxford which questioned more than 2000 people in Finland.

Some 59% of people in Finland say they trust most news, most of the time. It’s the highest figure for any of the 38 countries surveyed, ahead of Portugal and Denmark. However, just four years ago the number of Finns who trusted most of the news was 68%.

The report says this may be because of polarising tendencies in Finnish society.

“Social topics from immigration to wolf hunting have recently led to heated public debates and accusations of bias against established media” says Esa Reunanen from the University of Tampere.

“In a 2016 survey, 71% of those supporting the nationalist True Finns party said they had ‘lost their trust in traditional media’, while among all Finns only 38% agreed with that statement” he explains.

Public broadcaster Yle is the most trusted news brand in Finland, with Helsingin Sanomat, Kauppalehti and local newspapers coming next on trust index.

Changing ways to get news 

The way that Finns are getting their news is also changing. The smartphone is becoming increasingly important with 62% of people saying they use their smartphone every week for news, and 43% of people say it’s their main device – up from 39% a year ago.

As newspaper circulations have continued to decline, publishers have been offering digital bundles along with the physical newspaper for the same price, or a little higher cost.

This has been a success for some publishers like Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, which has around 100,000 digital-only subscribers and 300,000 subscribers overall. However just 16% of the adult population in Finland has paid for online news.

When it comes to social media and messaging as sources of news the most popular is Facebook at 30%, followed by YouTube (14%), WhatsApp (10%), Twitter (8%), Instagram (6%) and Facebook Messenger (6%).

Some other statistics from the report: 

  • 23% think the media is often too negative
  • 26% say they listened to a podcast in the previous month
  • 17% say they actively avoided the news.
  • 75% say the news keeps them up to date
  • 51% say the media helps to monitor powerful people