Reuters Institute just released its Digital News Report for 2019, the most comprehensive ongoing comparative study of news consumption in the world, delivering important and timely data about the transition to digital on an international comparison basis. This year’s report, written by Nic Newman with Richard Fletcher, Antonis Kalogeropoulos and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, offers a number of new insights into key issues affecting the current state of digital media, with deep analysis into areas such as:
- Consumers’ willingness to pay for news and the limits of subscription
- Groups and private networks (are they time well spent?)
- The rise of populism, and its consequences for news media
- What consumers really think about the news media
- How younger generations consume news differently
- The who, what, why and where of podcats
The report is based on a survey of more than 75,000 people in 38 markets across the world, including South Africa for the first time.
Why it Matters:
“Journalism exists in the context of its audience,” writes Nielsen in the foreword to the report. “If journalists (and those who care about journalism) are to understand and navigate the changing environment around news, it is critically important that they have access to relevant, robust, independent evidence and analysis on how people across countries engage with and use news.”
Nielsen goes on to say that the 2019 report comes amid a complex set of challenges for the news industry, including the ongoing disruption of traditional business models, the constant evolution of how people use digital media, intensifying concerns about giant tech companies, and upheaval that’s resulted from low trust in the media and the rise of populism. These challenges have further depressed news media companies that are still reeling from more than a decade of digital disruption.
Platform power has further disrupted the industry, contributing to a series of high-profile layoffs at organizations such as Gannett, Mic and BuzzFeed. The growth of partisanship, clickbait and fake news misinformation has further undermined digital news publishing, raising new questions about how to deliver fair and balanced reporting in today’s digital age.