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MAINSTREAM MEDIA LOSING AUDIENCE... AND TRUST
Public increasingly turning to independent voices, with BBC suffering sharpest loss in faith, says Digital News report
By Charlotte Hervis
PEOPLE are turning off mainstream news with a 37 per cent dip in interest over seven years.
The findings of the 2022 Reuters Digital News report tally with some of our experience as journalists here at News Uncut – that mainstream media sources are losing both audience and trust.
Curious and mindful news consumers are increasingly seeking out alternative news sources, turning to individual or independent voices to offer news and opinion.
THE UK was among the top five markets suffering news fatigue. In 2015, 70 per cent of survey respondents said they were very interested or extremely interested in news. This has fallen to 43 per cent in 2022 – one of the biggest drops of all international markets. Forty-six of respondents from the UK market said they actively avoid news, up from 35 per cent in 2019.
The UK was the second market after Brazil with the greatest proportion of survey respondents who actively avoid the news. Common reasons given for news avoidance include repetitiveness of the news agenda – particularly around Covid and politics – and the impact news consumption can have on mental well-being.
The BBC was among the public broadcasters suffering the widest drop in trust, from 75 per cent in 2018 to 55 per cent in 2022. The public broadcasters of Australia (ABC) and Canada (CBC) suffered a similar fate in terms of falling trust, but the BBC saw the sharpest percentage fall over time.
UK news consumers are among the least likely markets to pay for online news – just nine per cent of respondents paid for their online news, against a 17 per cent average for 20 markets. In comparison, 19 per cent of US respondents said they had paid in some form for online news in the past year.
Growing awareness of external influences on news agendas
ONLY 20 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement ‘UK media is free from undue political influence’. The same amount agreed with the statement ‘UK media is free from undue business influence’. This is down from 34 per cent and 29 per cent respectively in 2017.
What this means is that there is a growing awareness of the role that third parties can play in shaping media agendas and the content we see published in the mainstream media.
The Reuters Digital News report is published each year by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, which conducts in-depth research across 46 markets exploring news consumption habits and trust levels, based on audience research (global sample size: 93,000) undertaken by YouGov. This year the online questionnaire was sent to survey participants at the end of January / start of February 2022. The sample size of UK respondents to the survey was 2,410.
The report can be accessed HERE