The wait is over! We are thrilled to announce that we at the Reuters Institute have just published our Digital News Report 2022. In this newsletter, you'll find a few insights on this year's edition, which is based on a survey of more than 93,000 people in 46 markets and covers half of the world's population. The report, authored by Nic Newman, Richard Fletcher, Craig T. Robertson, Kirsten Eddy and Rasmus Nielsen, is now available on our website. You can download a PDF version in this link

๐Ÿ•’ This newsletter is 1,602 words, an 12-minute read. If you don't receive it yet, join our mailing list here. If you want to receive our daily roundup with readings on journalism, join our Telegram channel here.


๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿ’ป Key links: Explore Digital News Report 2022 here | Read the executive summary | Check out data from your country | Download a PDF version | Read our methodology

The number of people who avoid the news is growing 

The issue. While most people across countries use the news regularly, many others are choosing to limit their exposure to certain types of news. Overall, 38% of the people surveyed say they often or sometimes avoid the news โ€“ up from 29% in 2017. As the chart shows, the number of news avoiders has doubled in UK and Brazil and have grown in many countries.

๐Ÿค” The reasons behind it. Across markets, many news avoiders say they are put off by the repetitiveness of the news agenda โ€“ especially around politics and COVID-19 (43%). Around 36% say that the news brings down their mood and 17% say the news leads to arguments theyโ€™d rather avoid. Many young people say they avoid news because it can be hard to follow, suggesting that the news media could do more to explain complex stories.

๐Ÿฅฑ Some people have switched off. Interest in news has declined in the vast majority of countries in our survey. In countries such as Spain (-30 points since 2015), Argentina (-29), Brazil and the UK (-27), these falls have been going on for some time. In the United States, interest remained high under Trump but seems to have declined significantly since 2020.

More on news avoidance
Trust in news is down after last year's bump

The issue. Trust in news has fallen in almost half the countries in our survey, and risen in just seven, partly reversing the gains made during the pandemic. On average, 42% say they trust most news most of the time. Finland remains the country with the highest levels of overall trust (69%), while the United States and Slovakia have the lowest score of all 46 countries (26%).

๐Ÿ‘Ž The reasons behind it. The reasons for this decline are not the same for every country. Politics and polarisation are behind the fall in trust in news in the US, where only 14% of right-leaning Americans trust most news most of the time. In Finland there's almost no difference in trust between those on the right and those on the left.

๐Ÿ™Š Undue influence. In other parts of the world, lack of trust is closely related to the perceived interference by politicians and businesspeople in the work of the news media. This is an issue in Central and Eastern Europe and in countries such as Spain, Greece and Italy, where there is a strong tradition of party and government influence over the media. 

More on trust
The growth in news subscriptions may be levelling off 

The issue. Despite significant increases in the proportion paying for online news in a handful of richer countries such as Australia (+5 points), Germany (+5) and Sweden (+3), there are signs that overall growth may be levelling off. Across a selection of 20 countries where payment is widespread, 17% paid for any online news, the same figure as last year.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Who pays for news? A large proportion of digital subscriptions go to a few national brands โ€“ reinforcing a winner-takes-most dynamics that we've described before. Subscribers tend to be richer, older and better educated, and tend to pay for one publication. Figures for local papers depend on the country: only 5% of subscribers pay for a local title in the UK, but the figure is much higher in Norway (53%) and Sweden (43%).

โšฝ๏ธ Who pays for other services? People who subscribe to news are more likely to subscribe to other digital services and vice versa. Our figures show that 65% in the UK have at least one subscription to a TV service like Netflix (19% have three or more). Around 37% have a music subscription and 22% pay for a premium sports service. Only 7% have an online news subscription in the UK. 

More on subscriptions
Younger audiences embrace TikTok

The issue. A theme that runs through this yearโ€™s report is the difficulty in engaging younger users with news. The report identifies a group we call social natives, people under 25 who have grown up with social media, and whose behaviours and attitudes are not just different but more different than they were in the past.

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿ’ป How do younger audiences behave? This group of social natives define news in a different way, are less interested in traditional subjects like politics and have a weaker connection with news brands. Around 78% of people under 25 access news through side-door routes such as aggregators, search engines and social media every week. 

๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿป The rise of TikTok. These younger audiences have been switching allegiance away from Facebook towards visual networks like Instagram and TikTok. Across all countries, 40% of 18-24s use TikTok each week, with 15% saying they use it to find, discuss or share news. Usage for news has doubled in some countries and is even higher in parts of Latin America, Asia and Africa, as the chart shows.

More on younger audiences

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ On Ukraine. Many people turned to TV news to follow the latest on Russia's invasion, especially in countries closest to the fighting, such as Germany and Poland. However, there have been increases in selective news avoidance in Germany (+7 points compared to pre-conflict levels), and Poland (+6) as well as in the United States (+4). | Read the chapter

๐Ÿคฌ On news audiences' polarisation. Our figures show that polarisation is generally low because most news outlets attract mixed and/or centrist audiences, that there are large differences in news audience polarisation by country, and that levels of news audience polarisation have changed little since 2016. | Read the chapter

๐Ÿ“ฌ On the role of email news. We find that email news is still a minority activity that appeals mostly to older and better educated readers. Usage has actually declined in many countries at the same time as the value to some users and some news organisations has grown. | Read the chapter

๐Ÿ“บ On the journalists people pay attention to. While social media have increased the profile of many digital journalists, we find that the most well-known journalists in most countries are TV anchors and presenters. When asked to name journalists they pay attention to, few people can name reporters or foreign correspondents. | Read the chapter

๐ŸŒช On how people access climate news. Interest in climate change news is highest in several Latin American, Southern European, and Asia-Pacific markets. A few examples are Greece (53%), Portugal (53%), Chile (52%) and the Philippines (52%). Interest is lower in countries like Norway (33%) and France (36%), along with the US (30%). | Read the chapter


๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brazil. 64% of Brazilians now get their news from social networks each week. The most popular platform is YouTube, which is used by 43% of Brazilians for news, closely followed by WhatsApp (41%) and Facebook (40%). | Learn more

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India. India is a strongly mobile-focused market, with 72% accessing news through smartphones and just 35% via computers. Social media is popular in India, with a significant number using YouTube (53%) and WhatsApp (51%) for news. | Learn more

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United States. Belief in news independence is also very low, with small proportions of our sample who believe the news media are independent from undue business (16%) and political influence (18%). | Learn more

๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa. Facebook and WhatsApp remain the most popular platforms for news, being used for this purpose by 52% and 43% respectively. The use of TikTok for news is increasing, reaching 15% this year. | Learn more

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United Kingdom. Thereโ€™s been a decrease in the percentage of people in the UK who think the media is independent from undue political or government influence: 20%, down 14 points from 2017. | Learn more

Explore your country

"These findings will be very challenging for the news industry because subjects that journalists really care about and consider most important seem to be precisely the stories that are turning some people away from news"

Nic Newman
Lead author of the report
Audio and transcript here
Listen on : Spotify | Apple | Google


๐Ÿ“ˆ Explore data from your country. Figures from 46 markets
๐Ÿ“„ Download the PDF version and read it on your tablet 
๐Ÿ“Š Check out our interactive page. Explore our data and build your own charts
๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ”ฌ Learn about our methodology. How we produce the report

๐ŸŽ™ Listen to our podcast series on the report 
๐ŸŽฅ Watch a video summary. Explore the key findings in 2 minutes
๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿ’ป Explore the report in 192 slides. A presentation to use in your class

๐Ÿ“Œ Join our global launch events. We are hosting events focusing on different regions. You can find links to join here 

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Today's email was written by Eduardo SuรกrezMatthew Leake and Marina Adami.  

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