Study: Readers willing to pay for online news that they trust

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With the rise of fake news, people are willing to pay for online news that they trust, research on digital media trends shows.

This means news organisations must find ways to win that trust - and therefore dollars - of readers, particularly youth, said editors, publishers and researchers at a conference on digital media.

Funding good quality news will help to counter fake news, which is a problem not just for media outlets but also for all of society, they added.

The issue was among several discussed at the three-day Digital Media Asia 2017 conference which ended yesterday.

"We do have data suggesting there is a relationship between trust in news and willingness to actually pay for digital news," said Chinese University of Hong Kong journalism professor Francis Lee.

He cited a regional version of the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017, which polled 14,000 people in seven Asia-Pacific markets, including Singapore.

It found that trust in a news outlet can fuel people's willingness to pay for news, said Prof Lee.

But such readers are still in the minority, with only an average of 13 to 14 per cent of people paying for online news.

Mr Warren Fernandez, The Straits Times editor and editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media Group, said: "All round the world, media organisations, and societies, are grappling with how to build a new business model that will enable the media to deliver good journalism."


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