Young people – especially young women – think media represent them less fairly. This also goes for political partisans and – at least in the US – people from minority ethnic groups. ”These findings will give added urgency to those who are arguing for more diverse and inclusive newsrooms”; Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism says in its annual Digital News Report with data from 46 markets.
The trust gap between the news in general and that found in aggregated environments like search and social media has grown – with audiences stressing the importance of accurate and reliable news sources, the report shows.
”Trust in the news has grown, on average, by six percentage points in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic – with 44% of our total sample saying they trust most news most of the time. This reverses, to some extent, recent falls in average trust – bringing levels back to those of 2018.”
Finland remains the country with the highest levels of overall trust (65%), and the USA now has the lowest levels (29%).
At the same time, trust in news from search and social has remained broadly stable which means the trust gap has increased.
Print newspapers have seen a further sharp decline almost everywhere because of lockdowns whit newspapers stressing digital subscriptions.
The majority (74%) say they still prefer news that reflects a range of views and lets them decide what to think.
The use of social media for news remains strong, especially with younger people and those with lower levels of education.
”Those who use social media are more likely to say they have been exposed to misinformation about Coronavirus than non-users. Facebook is seen as the main channel for spreading false information almost everywhere but messaging apps like WhatsApp are seen as a bigger problem in parts of the Global South such as Brazil and Indonesia.”
PAYING FOR NEWS
The report notes significant increases in payment for online news in a small number of richer Western countries. However, the overall percentage of people paying for online news remains low. Across 20 countries where publishers have been pushing for more online payment, 17% have paid for any online news in the last year – up two percentage points. Norway continues to lead the way with 45% (+3) followed by Sweden (30%), the United States (21%), Finland (20%), the Netherlands (17%), and Switzerland (17%).
Across all markets, just a quarter (25%) prefer to start their news journeys with a website or app.
The use of smartphone for news (73%) has grown at its fastest rate for many years.
Growth in podcasts has slowed, in part due to the impact of restrictions on movement. This is despite some high-profile news launches and more investment via tech platforms.
The report says Spotify continues to gain ground over Apple and Google podcasts in a number of countries and YouTube is benefiting from the popularity of video-based and hybrid podcasts.