Paul Murray (Image: Sky News)

The COVID-19 shock has generated a welcome boom for Australian journalism, with audiences up about 30% in both traditional and online outlets. Around the country journalists are whispering hopefully to each other: “They like us! They really like us!”

Media have rewarded this attention with an all-COVID, all the time, news product, shaping the dominant stories across the spectrum from politics to finance, to lifestyle and even on to sport. As these new audiences see what a great job the media does, surely they’ll stick around!

Yeah. Nah. Looks like the boom may already be fading. According to the Essential poll, trust in the media “to provide honest and objective information about the COVID-19 outbreak” rose from 35% in mid March to 51% by the end of the month when audience attention seems to have peaked, before sliding back down to 41% two weeks later.