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Digital News Report 2022


Digital News Report 2022: Relevance

  • GS 2: Development processes and the development industry.


Digital News Report: Context

  • Recently, Reuters Institute has released a new report titled, ‘Digital News Report’ where it has revealed that trust in news has been falling in nearly half the countries surveyed.


Digital News Report 2022: Key points

  • The report covers 46 markets in six continents.
  • Since the report is based on online questionnaires, the findings are not necessarily nationally representative, especially for countries with lower internet penetration.
  • Moreover, for India, the data is more representative of younger English speakers and not the national population.


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Digital News Report 2022: Six major trends

  • People, especially younger age groups, are trusting news content less and less.
  • Consumption of traditional news media declined in nearly all the countries
  • The proportion of news consumers who say that they “avoid news” has risen sharply across countries, with the report describing the phenomenon as “selective avoidance”.
  • Despite small increases in the proportion of people willing to pay for online news—that too mostly in richer countries, the growth in digital subscriptions for news content seems to be levelling off.
  • The smartphone has become the dominant way in which most people first access news in the morning.
  • The report notes that TikTok has become the fastest-growing network while Facebook remained the most-used social network for news.


What is ‘selective avoidance’?

  • The report finds that there is a growing minority who are choosing to limit their exposure to certain type of news. It has been termed as selective avoidance of news.
  • It is one of the reasons why news consumptions levels have failed to increase as per expectations.
  • Reasons for selective avoidance: repetitiveness of news agenda— especially politics and COVID; worn out of the news; trust issues; news ruins mood—people below 35 years of age; lead to arguments people would like to avoid; feeling of powerlessness, among others.


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Reasons from declining trust on news

  • The average level of trust in news, at 42%, was found to be lower than the previous year.
  • Major reasons: Indifference to news and its value; and widespread perception of political and other biases by the media.
  • In the US, the trust issues on the right were lower than that compared with the left of the ideological spectrum.
  • In France, the lack of trust closely tracked the class divide, with the ‘haves’ showing higher levels of trust, while the ‘have-nots’ viewed media as often aligning itself with the elites.
  • Other reasons for low trust included perceptions of undue influence from business or political interests.
  • Many people were of the opinion that all or most news outfits put their own political views or commercial interests ahead of society.


Modes of news consumption

  • In India, 58% of the respondents said that they “mostly read” the news while 17% said they “mostly watch” it.
  • On the other hand, the comparable figures for Finland were 85% and 3% respectively.
  • The report finds that social media is becoming more important as a gateway to news due to its “ubiquity and convenience”.


Digital News Report India

  • The report has observed that India is a strongly mobile-focussed market.
  • Also, 84% of the Indian respondents sourced news online, 63% from social media, 59% from television, and 49% from print.
  • YouTube (53%) and WhatsApp (51%) were the top social media platforms for sourcing news.
  • In India, 41% of the respondents’ trust news, thus showing a small increase in the level of trust.
  • While legacy print brands and public broadcasters continued to have high trust levels, only a minority — 36% and 35% — felt that the media was free from undue political influence and from undue business influence respectively.


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