According to Oxford University’s Reuters Institute, 47% of people are interested in the news, down from 63% in 2017. In the UK, the proportion is even lower.
What’s more 36% of people worldwide say they sometimes or often actively avoid the news.
In what may be a sign of information overload, the authors of the report said that there is evidence that audiences “continue to selectively avoid important stories such as the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis as they cut back on depressing news and look to protect their mental health,” according to the BBC.
Of course – thanks to the Trump years and the proliferation of alternative news outlets (ahem) perhaps the realization that most news outlets engage in highly propagandized narrative-shaping in order to control public sentiment on behalf of governments worldwide might also have something to do with it.
The Digital News Report 2023 also concluded that traditional TV and print news media are continuing to decline, while “online consumers are accessing news less frequently than in the past and are also becoming less interested”.
Four in 10 people (40%) say they trust most news most of the time, down two percentage points compared with last year.
In the UK, the BBC was the most trusted news brand, followed by Channel 4 and ITV.
The research also reported that more than half (56%) of those surveyed worry about identifying what news is real and fake online – up two percentage points. -BBC
According to the report, and this is disturbing, Facebook is still the most important social media platform for consuming news, though it’s also suffered a long-term decline, with the number of people accessing it for news content dropping from 42% to 28% over the past seven years.
Meanwhile, Instagram and TikTok have seen increases in use, with 14% of people using Instagram for news and 6% using TikTok.
When it comes to young users, however, then numbers are much higher – with one in five (20%) 18 to 24-year-olds getting their news from TikTok, up from 15% last year, the BBC report continues.
According to Reuters Institute director Rasmus Neilsen, “Younger generations increasingly eschew direct discovery for all but the most appealing brands.”
“They have little interest in many conventional news offers oriented towards older generations’ habits, interests, and values, and instead embrace the more personality-based, participatory, and personalised options offered by social media, often looking beyond legacy platforms to new entrants.”