Reuters Institute has launched the Digital News Report 2020, the most comprehensive annual report on news consumption worldwide. This year’s report covers 40 markets, including two new ones (one of which is Kenya, the other the Philippines) and gives many insights about issues such as misinformation, paying for news, the rise of news podcasts, and how the public wants journalists to cover dubious statements from politicians and climate change.
Here are a few findings you may find interesting:
On trust in news
- Kenyan news audiences are some of the most trusting with 50% of respondents saying they trust most news most of the time, ranking 6th out of 40 markets.
- Meanwhile, across all 40 markets, less than four in ten (38%) said they trust ‘most news most of the time’ – a fall of four percentage points from 2019.
- Less than half (46%) said they trust the news they use themselves while trust in search (32%) and social media (22%) is even lower.
- Notable changes over the last 12 months include a 16-point fall in Hong Kong (30%) following violent street protests and a 15-point fall in Chile (30%), which has seen regular demonstrations about societal inequality.
- In the UK trust has fallen 12 points (28%), following a divisive election.
Even before the peak of the pandemic, more than half of our global sample (56%) said they were concerned about what is true or false on the internet when it comes to news. Domestic politicians are the single most frequently named source of misinformation. They are more widely blamed in countries such as Brazil, the Philippines and the US.Respondents in most countries were most concerned about Facebook (29%) than about other platforms. However, in countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia and Chile, people say they are more concerned about closed messaging apps like WhatsApp.
On paying for news
- Our data shows significant increases in the percentage paying for any online news in a number of markets – including a jump of four percentage points in the United States to 20% and eight points in Norway to 42%.
- Despite this, a large number of people remain perfectly content with the news they can access for free and we observe a very high proportion of non-subscribers (40% in the US and 50% in the UK) who say that nothing could persuade them to pay.
On covering politics
- Across countries the survey data show most people (52%) agree that the news media should report inaccurate statements by politicians prominently because ‘it is important for the public to know what the politician said’ rather than not emphasise them.
- Across countries the majority (60%) say that they still prefer news that has no particular point of view and that only a minority (28%) prefer news that reinforces their views. This preference is strongest in countries like Germany, Japan, the UK, and Denmark.
Link to the executive summary: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dzztxmxDMaHgGNf7xUlMXLuqSbnnL5UH/view