16 Jul 2024 20:43

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3 key findings about news consumption from the Digital News Report 2024

The 2024 Reuters Institute Digital News Report arrives amid a complex and uncertain news environment.

This year’s report comes as news business models grapple with declines in social media traffic and shrinking advertising revenue. 2024 is also a critical year for democracy, with a record number of elections around the globe. However, these elections are taking place amidst high levels of concern for misinformation and the potential for news manipulation.

Based on a YouGov survey of nearly 100,000 consumers in 47 markets that together represent more than half the world’s population, the report delves into the changes that are shaping the digital news landscape, including:

The ongoing challenge of trust in news and misinformation

The decline in the use of Facebook for news and growing influence of video platforms and messaging apps

The rise of news fatigue and avoidance

The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on journalism

Let’s get a closer look at the state of news consumption around the world.

1. Interest in news and politics is declining in many countries

While elections have increased interest in the news in a few countries, including the United States (52%, +3 points from last year), the overall trend remains downward. Across 12 markets where we track news interest, news interest fell from 66% in 2018 to 49% in 2024. Political interest follows a similar downward trend, with figures falling from 45% to 30% during the same period.

In the United Kingdom, not only has interest in the news almost halved between 2015 and 2024 (from 70% to 38%), but an election year has also failed to drum up interest in the news or politics within the last year. Election year markets that have seen a rise in political interest include the US (+5 points from 2023), Taiwan (+4), India (+4), Indonesia (+5) and Croatia (+3 points).

2. People are actively avoiding the news in many places around the world

The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2024 finds an increase in selective news avoidance. Around four in ten (39%) of survey respondents now say they sometimes or often avoid the news – up 3 percentage points on last year’s average (36%) and 10 points from 2017 (29%). This trend is particularly pronounced in Brazil, Spain, Germany, and Finland.

Zooming into the UK, news avoidance nearly doubled from 24% in 2017 to 46% now. Fatigue could be one of the reasons why people are avoiding the news more. Two in five in the UK feel worn out by the news these days and open-ended responses from survey respondents reveal that certain people feel depressed and overwhelmed by the news while others find it repetitive.

3. The social media channels people rely on for news is changing

Across the 12 countries YouGov and Reuters have been following for the past decade, Facebook has shown a 10-point decline in weekly usage for news, from 36% in 2014 to 26% in 2024. At the same time, there’s a growing reliance on video and messaging apps such as YouTube (+6 points), Instagram (+13 points), and WhatsApp (+9 points). And despite being one of the newer social entrants, weekly usage of TikTok for news across the 12 selected markets sits at nearly the same level as Twitter’s (8% vs. 11%).


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