Posted by Roger Mallett Posted on 22 June 2024

People Turning Away From the News in Their Droves

The BBC has published a story about the dramatic rise in the number of people actively turning away from the news, resulting from a survey of 97,943 people in 47 countries:

More people are turning away from news, describing it as depressing, relentless and boring, a global study suggests.

Almost four in 10 (39%) people worldwide said they sometimes or often actively avoid the news, compared with 29% in 2017, according to the report by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute.

Wars in Ukraine and the Middle East may have contributed to people’s desire to switch off the news, the report’s authors said.

This is despite there being apparently numerous reasons for why one might have thought people would be more interested, not less, in the news:

It comes at a time when billions of people around the world have been going to the polls in national and regional elections.

The report found that elections have increased interest in the news in a few countries, including the United States.

However, the overall trend remains firmly downwards, according to the study.

Around the world, 46% of people said they were very or extremely interested in the news – down from 63% in 2017.

In the U.K., interest in news has almost halved since 2015.

“The news agenda has obviously been particularly difficult in recent years,” the report’s lead author Nic Newman told BBC News.

“You’ve had the pandemic [and] wars, so it’s a fairly natural reaction for people to turn away from the news, whether it’s to protect their mental health or simply wanting to get on with the rest of their lives.”

Mr. Newman said those choosing to selectively avoid the news also often do so because they feel “powerless”.

It’s an important story because it raises all sorts of other questions about whether people trust what they’re being told. Apparently, 40% of people still trust the news but it was allegedly 44% during the pandemic. Both figures suggest that more than half of people don’t trust the news or don’t know one way or the other. However, if fewer and fewer people can even be bothered to watch, listen to or read the news, that’s academic. No wonder the U.K.’s current election campaign has barely lit anyone’s fire.

Read More – People Turning Away From the News in Their Droves

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