For anyone with even a passing interest in online media consumption, the annual digital news report is a must-read.
The University of Canberra’s report is part of a long-running international survey coordinated by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
The Digital News Report provides comparative data on media consumption in 46 countries.
Here are nine key takeaways from the Digital News Report: Australia 2022.
Three in four Australians consider climate change to be a serious problem
News consumers in regional areas remain less concerned about climate change than those in cities.
Left-leaning consumers are more than twice as concerned about climate change as those on the right [81% vs 32%].
Those who pay attention to news about climate change are nine times more likely to be concerned, than those who do not [62% vs 7%].
Those who take climate change more seriously support news media having a clear position in favour of climate change action.
42% believe all or most news organisations put their political views ahead of what is best for society, and 47% believe they put commercial interests first.
Less than one-third [29%] perceive Australian news organisations to be politically polarised.
Those who identify as either left or right-wing are more likely to consume 7+ news brands.
Right-wing consumers are more interested in crime, business, sport, and local news, and left-wing prefer culture, environment, climate change, science and technology news.
Less than one-third of Australians believe news organisations are independent from undue commercial or political influence.
Despite significant events, news interest has fallen by 6% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Audiences are most interested in local [67%], international [56%] and coronavirus [51%] news.
A duty to stay informed [45%] and curiosity [44%] are the top reasons for consuming news.
More than two-thirds of respondents now actively avoid the news, increasing by 11 percentage points since 2017.
People avoid the news because they think there’s too much news about politics and coronavirus, and because of the negative effect it has on their mood.
Online news consumers are three times more likely to pay attention to a specific news brand [43%] rather than a journalist or commentator [15%].
More news consumers believe journalists should stick to reporting the news while on social media [52%] rather than express their personal opinions [34%].
Compared to older generations, Gen Z is more supportive of reporters expressing their personal opinions [54%].
Most respondents [73%] could not name a journalist or commentator they regularly paid attention to.
TV presenters and commentators from a European background are the most well recognised.
People are turning away from social media to get their news, in particular Gen Z and Y.
Overall news consumption is steady but has increased among young people and women.
There are signs of growth in print news consumption [+2], particularly regional and local newspapers [+3].
One in four [23%] Australians use smart TVs to access news, and TV remains the most popular main source of news [42%].
More than a quarter watch TV (27%) or look at their smartphone (26%) to get news first thing in the morning.
Facebook is still the most popular social media platform [67%], however its use for news continues to decline [-2].
TikTok usage has doubled since 2020 [7% to 15%], and one-third of users use it for news.
YouTube is losing popularity among Gen Z as a news platform [-9].
Australians prefer reading news [61%] rather than watching it online [12%] and say that this is because text is a quicker way to get news.
Podcast listenership is on the rise among younger generations; half of Gen Z and Y now listen to podcasts.
Trust in news has fallen to 41% [-2] and distrust has risen to 30% [+2]. The ABC and SBS remain the most trusted news organisations.
Trust in news brands has declined across the board with commercial broadcasters suffering the most.
Those who think news media put society first and are independent from commercial or political influence have higher trust in news.
Less than one-third a third of respondents trust news websites with their personal data, and the majority did not register with websites to access online news.
Those encountering Covid-19 misinformation increased [+3] since last year, and concern about misinformation remains high [64%].
More Australians are paying for online news [18%, +5].
Almost one-third [28%] of Gen Y now pays for news [+12].
There is a large growth in news consumers who pay for more than one news service [+13].
News is the least popular type of digital media service that people pay for.
People who pay attention to journalists over news brands are more likely to pay for news.
More Australians are interested in local news [67%] than the global average [60%].
Australians are among the least likely in the world to say they are interested in news about climate change and the environment [36%] and less likely to pay attention to it.
Australia goes against the global trend with an increase in the experience of COVID-19 misinformation to 42% [+4].
Australians are slightly less interested in political news [45%] than the global average [47%] and are more likely to avoid the news because there is too much coverage of politics and coronavirus [49%; 42% global average].
Australians are among the most likely in the world to say they use news because they have a duty to keep themselves informed about the news [45%; 36% global average].