Reuters Institute Digital News Report
The Asian College of Journalism (ACJ) is collaborating with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ), for the annual Digital News Report – an online survey to study the news consumption habits of consumers across the world, including India. The study has so far covered 46 markets in five continents.
The tenth edition of the Digital News Report, published in 2021, featured India for the first time in the main report.
The Asian College of Journalism provides support in identifying news brands and specific details relevant for the Indian market in the survey questionnaire, verifying the Hindi translation of the questionnaire, and contextualising the main findings for India in the country profile section of the report.
The 2021 report focused on trust in news, the pandemic induced economic pressure on news publishers, misinformation and COVID-19, and other aspects of digital news consumption among the public.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF FINDINGS: INDIA
India was one of the strongest mobile-focused markets in this survey, with 73% of the respondents using smartphones to access news. Overall, 82% of the respondents sourced news online (including social media), while 63% sourced news from social media platforms. WhatsApp and YouTube were the top social media platforms from where people got their news (53% of respondents) amid concerns of rampant misinformation on these platforms.
On an average, trust in news had grown across the world, with 44% of the total sample for all media markets saying they trust most news most of the time. Finland had the highest levels of overall trust in news (65%) while the US had the lowest levels of trust (29%). India, however, ranked lower at 31 among 46 countries, with 38% of the respondents saying that they trust news overall.
The survey showed that legacy print brands and government broadcasters score high on trust levels among news consumers in India.
The 2022 report focused on declining interest in news, fall in trust in news, selective news avoidance by consumers, the fraying relationship between journalism and the public, and how young people access news.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF FINDINGS: INDIA
While a general fall in trust in overall news was noted in almost half the countries in the survey, India registered a marginal increase in trust in news. Around 41% (3 pp or percentage points increase from 2021) of the survey respondents in India noted that they trust news overall, improving its position to 20th among the 46 markets (India ranked 31 among 46 markets in 2021).
India was also one of the strongest mobile-focussed markets in the survey, with 72% of the survey respondents accessing news through smartphones and 35% through computers. The survey showed that 84% of the respondents source news online in India, 63% from social media, 59% from television, and 49% from print. YouTube (53%) and WhatsApp (51%) continued to be the top social media platforms for sourcing news, despite concerns of misinformation on social media platforms in general, and larger plans to regulate them in the country.
In India, 36% of the respondents felt that the media is free from undue political influence, and a similar number (35%) felt that the media is free from undue business influence.
In India, the respondents were mainly English-speaking, online news users, leaning towards a more affluent, younger, educated, and urban population. They represent a small portion of a diverse and vibrant media market in the country. Therefore, the findings should not be taken to be nationally representative.
Country profiles – India