Scientists are the second on the list of professions which Italians trust. Journalists come after hairdressers. Why? Because “They exaggerate everything just to get attention”.
Following the example of a survey held in Denmark, the second year students attending the Communication Sciences Course at the Insubria University carried out a similar sociological survey to determine the level of trust of the Italians in professional figures and institutions.
The questionnaire proposed in the survey was answered by 1.106 individuals and was composed of three questions. The first referred to trust in institutions and everyday realities, such as family, firefighters, the pope, universities, the health system, etc. The second question referred to professional figures and the third asked why citizen are now less interested in news and in the mass media.
1. Trust in institutions. The family is the “institution” which registered the highest approval in the first question with a percentage of 89%, highlighting the fact that Italians are still strongly bound to traditional values. The Pope mainly voted for by Italians over their mid-thirties, is seen as an innovator of today’s church, able to give new form to the weak religious institution. A much smaller percentage instead of politics and Italian institutions such as INPS (the Italian Social Security Institution), the Regional Boards, and Mayors. The only good results are for the President of the Italian Republic and for the European Institutions, believed to be more unbiased and above the other institutions.
2. Trust in professional profiles. The professional figure which inspires the greatest trust is the doctor with a percentage of 56.7%, followed by the scientist (31.9%) and the chemist (25.6%). To find the journalist, we have to go down the scale to just under the hairdresser, which is not a very good signal.
The credibility of institutions and information professions is clearly in a state of crisis, as confirmed by the surveys held in Denmark and in the USA.
3. Why citizen are now less interested in news and in the mass media? The under 18s answered that traditional information has been replaced by the web. Older individuals, instead, highlighted the excessive influence publishers and political parties have on newspapers and their articles. To this, we have to add the impatience towards inflated and exaggerated news, which is easily moulded and exploited. The public doesn’t trust the reliability of the information sources. Consequently, this affects the trust in journalists, that has dropped to 8.20%. In spite of this, the survey leaves us with a glimpse of hope: only 3.50% of the public who answered the questions has claimed to be completely disinterested in information.
The director of the Technical and Applied Sciences department, Fabio Conti, wanted to highlight the evolution of teaching communication following the current situation and research: “Often, we register a gap between what we teach at Universities and what is needed in the workplace. Our University distinguishes itself by the quality of preparation we give to our students, thanks to the training that is always attentive to the demand of society“.
Gianmarco Gaspari, the headmaster of the Communication Sciences course, positively admired the research: “I am really interested in the work carried out by the Public and Institutional Communication students. They have proven to be real experts, showing that our University is able to not only impart teaching but also build solid professionals in the world of communication“.
The students were taught by Professor Franz Foti, who teaches journalism to the higher classes and who highlighted the fact that “we are no longer a top-down society, but a bottom-up one. Consumers want transparency in the information system“.
Is it time to bring constructive journalism to Italy? The answer has already been given by northern Europe and the United States, which, since 2008 have been experimenting with much success in the so-called constructive journalism: a new perspective to write and publish articles that analyses not only the problem that brings to the readers but also the solution. The result has been an upswing of the audience lost in the last 20 years because of bad information. To prove this there are the cases of The Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.
This new approach is also coming to Italy, thanks to the Italian Constructive Media Association (formerly Buone Notizie Association) that brings to our country a teaching project aimed at media experts, journalists, publishers and events for the larger public to teach everyone about the impact mass media has on our lives. We also aim to show people the difference between bad information, moulded to sell more and to follow the different political parties’ views and good constructive information.
All our initiatives will be announced here on our site. Subscribe now to our newsletter to stay tuned!
Translated by A.J.L. and revised by M.K.