Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Reuters Digital news report 2019

In June the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism published the 2019 Reuters Digital news report. The report is mainly based on responses to an online questionnaire, with research carried out by YouGov in January/February 2019, aiming for quota sampling, and the methodology is explained here. Additionally, they incorporate some results from a qualitative investigation of younger people in the USA and UK "The methodology included tracking actual online behaviour of 20 participants for several weeks, depth interviews, and small group discussions with their friends" (the full report on this is due next month). Key findings include
- "we find only a small increase in the numbers paying for any online news";
- "people are spending less time with Facebook and more time with WhatsApp and Instagram than this time last year... [however] [Facebook] remains by far the most important social network for news.";
- "WhatsApp has become a primary network for discussing and sharing news in non-Western countries" [including with people you don't know];
- "Concern about misinformation and disinformation remains high despite efforts by platforms and publishers to build public confidence" [but varies by country];
- "Across countries over a quarter (26%) say they have started relying on more ‘reputable’ sources of news2;
- There is more news avoidance (especially in the UK "Avoidance is up 3 percentage points overall and 11 points in the UK, driven by boredom, anger, or sadness over Brexit");
- smartphones are growing in importance "with two-thirds (66%) now using the device to access news weekly (+4pp)" and podcasts are an increasing news source, especially with younger people;
- there is an increase in using voice-activated devices for news, but it is still not used that much compared with e.g. smartphones.

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