Fewer young people rely on social media for their daily news fix

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There are positive signs for Australianews industry – and mainstream media – according to a major new report released today.

The Australia 2022 Digital News Report found that more and more young people are moving away from social media to more traditional forms of information.

While social media remains the main source of information for Gen Z (46%), the use of social media as a source of information has decreased by eight percentage points compared to the 2021 report.

The use of social media as a main source of information by Australians fell to 19% compared to last year (-4), and the popularity of Facebook as a place of information fell further (31% , -2).

The lead author of the report Professor Sora Park states that more and more young people are using television and online resources as their main source of information.

However, the young audience is tired. More than three-quarters (76%) of under-35s say they avoid the news, mainly because of the amount of political and Covid-related news, and the negative impact it has on their mood.

Dr Park notes: “Too much of the newsroom’s attention is devoted to topics like politics and the coronavirus and keeps young people away from the news all together. Young people have a broader desire for diverse news, agendas and voices.

In another positive trend for the industry, payment for information has increased and access to information remains stable.

Consumption of print news increased for the first time in six years, and the use of regional and local newspapers also increased.

Traditional and trusted public service broadcasters such as ABC and SBS remain among the most popular news sources, with a strong public appreciation for journalistic values ​​of impartiality and independence.

As Australians continue to deal with the continued impact of Covid-19, concerns about climate change have diminished and people remain divided on how the media should report on it.

Only a third of Australians pay attention to news about the environment and climate change, and one in five say they pay no attention to news about climate change at all.

Younger audiences believe news outlets should take a stand on issues such as climate change and that journalists should be free to express their personal views on social media.

We are becoming more cautious about obtaining our information from social media platforms, which is partly driven by concerns of online misinformation, particularly in relation to Covid-19.

After a surge during the pandemic, usage of most social media platforms has plateaued this year, except for TikTok and Telegram.

Television remains the most popular medium for accessing news (60%, -1), with Australians increasingly watching news on smart TVs.

The latest data shows that many Australians want journalists to stick to reporting the news on social media.

More than half (52%) say journalists should only report the news and not express their personal opinion on platforms like Twitter or Facebook.

The younger generations are much more in favor of journalists expressing their point of view; 54% of Gen Z and 43% of Millennials say personal opinions are good on social media, compared to just 24% of baby boomers and 17% of those 76 and older.

While traditional values ​​of fairness in journalism remain popular, these findings suggest an ongoing generational shift in attitudes about the role of opinion in news coverage.

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