Study reveals a “world without news” concerns readers

By Hannah Ohm Thomas

Newsworks

London, United Kingdom

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Ten months ago, the Newsworks insights team embarked on a mission to find out what would happen if you deprived news readers from reading their newspapers.

Little did they know that around the corner was something that would turn not just the study but the whole world on its head: the global coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, the research took on a new dimension. As news readership surged during lockdown, we looked at uncovering the change in sentiment toward news by reengaging with some of the people we had spoken to before the pandemic to see what had changed.

Recent Newsworks research indicates people can not fathom a world without news.
Recent Newsworks research indicates people can not fathom a world without news.

The findings spoke for themselves. Against a backdrop of fake news, disinformation, and attacks on free speech, the study revealed the nation’s value and appreciation for news increased significantly — particularly among younger audiences.

Key findings

These are some of the key findings from the study:

  • 66% of news consumers said they “appreciate and value journalism more since the global coronavirus pandemic began.”
  • For those younger than 35 years old, 77% said they value the work of journalists more now in providing reliable information and news.
  • Younger people increasingly use trusted news brands to check what they see on social media, with seven in 10 of those saying they felt less anxious about a story they had seen on social media once they had then checked it out via a news brand.
  • 70% of all respondents agreed a “world without journalism would harm democratic society.”
  • The in-depth research also identified six goals consuming news helps individuals to achieve. These include connecting with others, calibrating the world around us, and helping us as individuals thrive.
  • 80% agree newspapers are great at laying out everything to help make sense of a story, issue, or event.
  • People younger than 35 are more likely to change their opinion or behaviour after reading a news story.

Takeaways for advertisers

News brands provide an environment that not only attracts large-scale audiences, but this is also a space where people are in the process of making decisions, learning new things, and debating and discussing what they consume with others.

This is particularly relevant for brands wanting to engage with those younger than 35 years old, who — according to our study — are more likely to change their opinions and, more importantly, their behaviour after reading a story.

Find out more

To launch the research, we hosted an event together with the News Media Association and Society of Editors. It kicked off with an introduction to the findings by our insights director Denise Turner and the researchers behind the study. A panel of representatives from the news and agency world joined Turner to discuss and debate the results and broader themes around the importance of news and journalism.

Download the event presentation and watch the event on demand.

About Hannah Ohm Thomas

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