40% of people don't care about the news, survey says

Nearly 40% of people around the world "sometimes or often avoid the news," according to the new Digital News Report 2024 from the University of Oxford's Reuters Institute. That's a whopping 29% increase over 2017's numbers.

"Open comments suggest that the intractable conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East may have had some impact," the reports' editors state. "In a separate question, we find that the proportion that say they feel 'overloaded' by the amount of news these days has grown substantially (+11pp) since 2019 when we last asked this question."

Here are a few other key takeaways:

  • There is little evidence that upcoming elections or the rise of generative AI have significantly impacted trust in the news. Around 40% of people across various markets trust most news most of the time, consistent with last year's figures.
  • People want a range of perspectives. Survey data suggests news publishers may focus too much on major news updates rather than providing diverse perspectives or optimistic stories.
  • Video content is increasingly important, especially among younger groups, with 66% watching short news videos and 51% viewing longer form clips each week.

"The news agenda has obviously been particularly difficult in recent years," Nic Newman, lead author of the report, 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."

Not to mention, people feel "powerless" about what's happening around them.

"These are people who feel they have no agency over massive things that are happening in the world," he said.


• One man's crusade to digitize millions of newspaper pages
• 1927 news report: Donald Trump's dad arrested in KKK brawl with cops