Trust in the media as a dimension of institutional trust in the post-socialist context (Croatia)

Cuvalo, A. (2011). Trust in the media as a dimension of institutional trust in the post-socialist context (Croatia). Zagreb conference: "New challenges and methodological innovations in European media audience research". 7-9 April 2011.

Abstract: The paper relies on the results of analysis conducted on data gathered within the research project "Trust in media" commissioned by the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, and conducted in 2009, in co- operation with the research agency Media Metar from Zagreb, on a nationally representative probabilistic sample. In the paper, we will describe elements of the social and demographic profile of Croatian media audiences and we will identify key determinants of their perceptions of Croatian media space and general trust in media. As Tsfati (2003 in Kohring & Matthes, 2007) points out, from the perspective of communication research, „trust can be considered a crucial variable for media effects”, because “it informs us how individuals perceive and evaluate news media“(Kohring & Matthes, 2007). Furthermore, as a dimension of institutional trust, trust in media is important for civic engagement, which is an especially relevant issue in the Croatian context. But, how distinct is trust in the media from other social and political institutions? The paper aims to identify underlying dimensions of trust in the media from the data gathered for Croatia in 2009 in order to test the thesis of Cook & Gronke (2001) about the two- dimensional structure of institutional trust, suggesting that trust in the media is distinct from trust in other social and political institutions. The paper will try to examine methodological issues and constraints within the analyzed study, regarding the complexity of trust in media as a social phenomen and a field of research.