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Should you trust the media? That question came up during a recent Board of Trade lunch convened to discuss the findings of a massive global study. The Edelman Trust Barometer asked respondents in 27 countries to rate their level of confidence in government, business, nonprofits, and the media. The good news is that journalists didn’t fare worst (government did), but belief in reporting slipped globally and here as well. In the view of a small set of 200 informed Canadians, the media dropped three points over last year — a dip that sits midway between sizable plunges in some countries (10 percent in Italy and Spain, 15 percent in Poland) and steep ascents in others (the United Arab Emirates up 11 percent).
What interests me is how to respond when the world begins to lose faith. The simple takeaway from surveyed respondents: we have reached a point (perhaps we have social media to thank?) where a CEO can no longer hide behind spin doctors and message massagers. We must all take responsibility for our actions and open ourselves to scrutiny and accountability.
Which I actually find comforting as I present this issue’s compendium of results for this, our 25th annual Restaurant Awards (pg. 52). With full transparency I can pledge that neither fear nor favour influenced our 18 judges, who spent the year sampling the heady breadth available in the city and across the region. I can also report that neither did I put my finger on the scale: the judges ranked finalists in each category, then individually sent their ballots to an accountant who tabulated the votes in a spreadsheet of awesome complexity; only then was I informed who had won. There are some surprises and upsets in this, our silver anniversary year. Some welcome innovations, too. (I love our new focus on neighbourhood eats.) But nothing the judges decided was as startling as Restaurant of the Year — a selection that will (trust me) delight you when you give the place a shot, should you be lucky enough to manage a reservation once this news hits the streets. 5 Numbers That Add Up to May 2014