International research, published today by the Reuters Institute has found that Ireland has a higher trust in news media than the international average.
The survey of 36 countries found that 47% of Irish respondents trust the news media, compared with 41% internationally.
Meanwhile, just under a quarter (24%) of survey respondents worldwide said they think that social media do a good job in separating fact from fiction, compared to 40% for the news media.
In Ireland, the number of people who believe that news media does a good job is even higher, at 47%. The figure for social media is also higher among Irish respondents, at 28%.
Now in its sixth year, the annual Reuters Institute Digital News Report, published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, reveals high levels of dissatisfaction internationally with the quality of news and comment generally, and on social media in particular.
This is the third year that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has funded the inclusion of Ireland in the Reuters Institute Digital News Report, as part of its work on media plurality in Ireland.
Data relating to Ireland has also been the subject of a more detailed and specific report on the Irish results of the survey, produced by the Institute for Future Media and Journalism (FuJo) at Dublin City University and commissioned by the BAI.
The data for the research was collected between January–February 2017, reflecting the same data collection timeframe for previous years.
Key points arising from the Irish results include:
Facebook was the most used social media platform for news (41%), followed by YouTube (18%), Twitter and WhatsApp – both at 11%.
The major consumption shift was in the use of private messenger apps, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which are used more in Ireland than in many other countries for general use, rather than for news use.
Irish consumers’ interest in news was consistently high over the last three years. 70% or more said they were extremely or very interested in news each year.
The 2017 report found that younger people are more likely to avoid the news than older groups. However, 41% of Irish consumers said they never avoid the news.
Some 54% of Irish news consumers felt they had a good understanding of political issues. However, almost 30% were unable to declare the extent of their political understanding, while 16% indicated they did not have a good understanding of Irish political issues.
32% of Irish respondents said they follow at least one politician / political party on social media. This is lower than the 37% average in a sample of six countries – Australia, Germany, Ireland, Spain, UK and USA.
In 2017, Irish Digitalists (those who consume news via smartphones, tablets and computers) fell 4% to 23%, whereas Traditionalists (those who consume news via newspapers, radio and TV) grew by 2% to 31%. Mixed users [Half and Halfers] increased by 1%, to 45%.
Consumer willingness to pay for online news has reached just 10% in 2017, a marginal increase over each of the last two years. Younger consumers are more likely to pay for news.