This article examines how ordinary people utilize and assess the information options available to them drawing on original, nationally representative surveys conducted in 2012 in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, two regimes characterized by different trajectories since independence. In both countries, television is the main go-to source, while the Internet is used least. Trust in media, however, follows an unexpected pattern. On average, media enjoy higher levels of trust in Kazakhstan than in Kyrgyzstan, despite greater media independence and pluralism in the latter. Ironically, open political competition and media freedom in Kyrgyzstan may have a dampening effect on public trust, while in Kazakhstan limited political competition and controlled media appear to bolster it.