Key takeouts from the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018

Digital News Report 2018 from the Reuters Institute, assessing the state of digital news, starts with a positive note, claiming that there are signs of hope for the industry. Here are my takeouts from the survey.

#1 We use less social media to get news

Usage of social media for getting news is down by 6 per cent in the US. The decrease has also been noted in the UK and France. As the report says, this is due to a specific decline in the discovery, posting, and sharing of news in Facebook.

#2 We’ve different ways to get news

There are new ways we like to get our news. The majority (63 per cent) of the survey respondents prefer not to get their news going directly from the web. Over half (53 per cent) get their news via interfaces that use ranking algorithms to select stories (search engines, social media, or news aggregators). Notifications are also on the rise.

#3 We’re worried about the fake news

54 per cent of respondents are concerned about what is real and fake on the internet. The most worried about fake news are Brazilians, Spanish, and Americans. Germany and Netherlands are amongst the countries that are least concerned about the phenomenon.

#4 Publishers and platforms to tackle fake news

75 per cent of respondents think that media companies and journalists have the biggest responsibility to combat fake news. 71 per cent said that it’s tech companies who also should be preventing misinformation.

#5 We listen to more podcasts and see potential in audio

Podcasts are becoming increasingly more popular — this is due enhanced quality of content and ease of getting it. Overall, 34 per cent of sample indicated they listen to them. Podcasts are almost twice as popular in the United States (33 per cent) as they are in the UK (18 per cent). Younger consumers tend to listen to more podcasts that speech radio.

As the report states, podcasts seem to perform best in countries where people spend a lot of time in their cars (US and Australia with 33 per cent). The lower levels of usage was found in the countries where communing distance might be shorter shorter and with the higher bike travel (Netherlands with 18 per cent).

The report also tackled the voice-activated speakers. The Amazon Echo seems to be a market leader — despite its accessibility (only available in the US, UK, Germany, and Australia). Three-quarters of owners use their speakers for listening to music, but 43 per cent of respondents get news in some way (be it flash briefings or similar). Weather is popular (67 per cent), while 61 per cent access quick facts. More than one in ten (14 per cent) indicated they use the device to listen to podcasts.

#6 UK media overview

  • BBC News, ITV News, and Sky News are amongst most used traditional media, with BBC News online, Guardian online, and Mail Online being the most popular media brands on the web

  • BBC News, ITV News, Channel 4 News are topping the brand trust table, with Daily Mail (and Mail Online), Buzzfeed News, and The Sun at the bottom of the list. Overall trust in news is down one point, with particularly low in score in social media news (12 per cent)

  • Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as the most frequently used social media platforms for news by Brits
  • 7 per cent pay for online news (up one point since last year)
  • 14 per cent comment on news via social media or websites
  • 22 per cent share news via either social media or email
  • 21 per cent of respondents from Britain use an ad-blocker.

The Digital News Report 2018 reveals insights about digital news consumption based on a YouGov survey of over 74,000 online news consumers in 37 countries including the US and UK. It focuses on the issues of trust and misinformation, new online business models, the impact of changing Facebook algorithms and the rise of new platforms and messaging apps. Read it in full here.


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Author: Marcel Klebba

Account executive at a global communications agency, working across the B2B, fintech, and corporate accounts. Interested in current affairs, tech, and digital.

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