Reuters Institute Report | The pandemic has increased confidence in the news

(Montreal) The pandemic has increased confidence in news globally, but very little in Canada. In fact, the global average confidence is close to the Canadian average, which was higher before the pandemic.


Pierre Saint Arnaud
Canadian Press

For example, the Reuters Institute’s Digital News 2021 Report (DNR 2021) tells us that 44% of more than 92,000 participants worldwide said they trust the most news most of the time, an increase of 6% compared to 2020. In Canada it is This confidence ratio is 45%, compared to 44% the previous year.

The championship of confidence is still in the hands of the Finns, at 65%, but it should come as no surprise that the United States, after a year of controversy over the pandemic and accusations of fake news from all sides and from all sides, fell to last place among the 46 countries surveyed. With a confidence rate of only 29%?

The Canadian part of the report, released by the Center for Media Studies at Université Laval, as always, reports sometimes indicate differences between the perception of French and English speakers versus the media. For example, the one-point rise in confidence in Canada is entirely attributable to a five-point jump among French speakers, whose confidence index rose from 49% in 2020 to 54% in 2021, while that rate remained unchanged at 44% among English speakers.

After the increase in 2021, the trust of French speakers remains steady according to the report’s authors, who wrote: “As in every year since 2016, Francophones are more numerous than Anglophones to trust in the news most of the time.”

No to the hard press

It should be noted that French speakers who identify with the left are the most skeptical of the news (35%), while among English speakers, those who identify with the right are the least confident (42%).

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The Canadian survey also shows quite clearly that committed or activist journalism is not uncommon in the country: nearly three-quarters (71%) of respondents believe that coverage of social or political issues should reflect the widest possible diversity of opinions, and remain impartial. At all times (57%) and giving equal space to each position or party (69%). These percentages are roughly the same internationally, but slightly higher, with the difference that some younger respondents believe that neutrality may not be appropriate or desirable in some specific cases, particularly in matters of social justice.

Worried about fake news

Fake news worries nearly two-thirds of Canadians (63%), but this concern is much higher among English speakers (67%) than among French speakers (51%), while more than half (52%) say they have seen it. False or misleading information about COVID-19 during the pandemic. Surprisingly, it is online fake news from local politicians that interests the most respondents (25%), followed by active groups (21%) and then ordinary people (16%).

As for journalists themselves as a source of fake news, the authors wrote that they “are doing a relatively good job, with only 7% of respondents seeing it as their main concern, compared to 11% for false news overall the previous year.” Note that unlike English speakers, French speakers are more concerned about activist groups than local politicians.

Facebook: The publisher of fake news

In terms of where this fake news gets spread, Facebook, the most popular social media among Canadians, is the platform ranked as the most worrying about fake news related to the coronavirus, by one in three Canadians. News sites and apps follow, but to a much smaller percentage, and again, the distinction between francophones and English speakers is notable: many francophones (41%) cite Facebook as a primary concern. With the spread of false news about English speakers (29%).

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Internationally, concerns about fake news are greatest in Brazil (82%) and lowest in Germany (37%). Like Canada, most of the world sees Facebook as the primary channel for spreading fake news, but messaging apps like WhatsApp are seen as a bigger problem in many developing countries.

paper on the edge of the abyss

Print newspapers and magazines, which have suffered greatly from the pandemic, have lost out in terms of revenue and readers. Since the Canadian survey began five years ago, newspapers and publications have not reached this low rate of visits. While 7% of respondents said they still primarily consult news on paper in 2016, that number dropped to 3% in 2021. Unsurprisingly, the web is reaping the benefits of paper, with a majority of Canadians (53%) saying They mainly consult online news, up 4 percentage points from 2020 and 15 points from 2016.

Only a third of Canadians are concerned about the financial health of the media, compared to the other half, and there is another notable difference between French and English speakers facing the idea of ​​government assistance to the media, supported by 39% of Francophone speakers, compared to just 28% of English speakers.

Internationally, audiences in many countries have turned to established brands to professionally distribute information in times of health crisis, increasing the gap between “the best and the rest” and the gap between the best and the best. Trust between news media and social media. Countries with strong independent public media have experienced a growth in news consumption.

As in Canada, TV news maintained a strong performance despite a slight decline as print newspapers continued to decline, which was exacerbated by distribution difficulties in many states.

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Offer paid subscriptions تقدم

A significant increase in paid online subscriptions has been observed in a small number of wealthy Western countries, but the overall proportion of people who pay for information online remains low, a phenomenon that has raised concerns in recent years that Internet users are turning to free sources, many of which Its reliability is questionable. Norway leads the pack with up to 45% of its population paying for reliable and reliable information online.

In most countries, the lion’s share of paid digital subscriptions goes to a select group of major national media outlets, reinforcing the “winner takes the big prize” dynamic seen in the past.

At the same time, DNR 2021 sees signs of momentum running out and moving away from the news in many countries and notes that in the United States, interest in the news has dropped dramatically following the election of President Joe Biden, particularly among groups. who sympathize with the right.

The Canadian DNR 2021 survey was conducted from a random sample of 2036 participants, including 530 French speakers. An independent sample of French speakers was then completed to obtain 1017 participants. Canadian data was collected from January 14 to February 15, 2021. Internationally, more than 92,000 participants from 46 countries from all continents were invited to participate during the same period.

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