Trust in UK news organisations tumbles during COVID-19 outbreak - Reuters Institute

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People watch the TV as Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech, at a pub, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Liverpool

LONDON (Reuters) - Less than half of Britain's people trust in news organisations as a source for COVID-19 information, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism said.

The level of trust has fallen throughout the pandemic and about 8 million people in Britain are now at risk of being less informed, uninformed or misinformed about the disease just as the government grapples with a second wave, the Institute said in a report.

"The significant growth in the number of people vulnerable to misinformation means the UK is less well equipped to deal with the coronavirus communications crisis during the second wave and the winter ahead," director Rasmus Kleis Nielsen said.

Trust in news organisations as a source about the pandemic fell to 45% in August from 57% in April. Daily use of COVID-19 news has dropped 24 percentage points over the same period, to 55% from 79%, the Institute's report said.

While most people in the United Kingdom were well informed significant minorities - around 20 million people - felt neither the news media nor the government had explained what people should do in response to the virus.

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism is a research centre at the University of Oxford that tracks media trends. The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Thomson Reuters, funds the Reuters Institute.

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(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Angus MacSwan)