Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

A Deliberative Democracy Framework for Analysing Trust in Journalists: An Application to Italy

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Abstract:  In the current public sphere, the “deliberative model of democracy” may represent both the necessary benchmark and the best lens through which to view developments in the public debate. Democracy can never become really deliberative without the active participation of news media. The assumption of this article is that if news media are to disseminate knowledge, trust in them is crucial. This article examines an aspect neglected by studies on media trust: trust in journalists. It presents the results of a longitudinal survey carried out in May and September 2020 in Italy, right at the end of the first mass Covid-19 lockdown (Wave 1) and after the first pandemic summer (Wave 2), therefore a time when there was a great need for quality information. The main findings reveal that the use of social media decreases trust in journalists; furthermore, those who mainly rely on political institutions’ social media accounts for information place less trust in journalists than those who mainly rely on journalistic sources on those platforms. Instead, the use of traditional media (radio, television, newspapers) increases trust in journalists.

Keywords:  deliberative democracy; information crisis; media trust; news consumption; trust in journalists



© Sergio Splendore, Diego Garusi, Augusto Valeriani. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.