Young people reject traditional media and get information on TikTok and Instagram

More and more people deliberately avoid the news, influenced by the barrage of information about the pandemic, which gave way to the war in Ukraine and the subsequent economic crisis. This wave of disconnection with the news especially affects young people, those who have a "weaker connection" with the media and who choose to be informed by networks like TikTok.

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That is the main conclusion of the Digital News Report 2022, an investigation carried out with 93,432 people in 46 media markets and carried out by researchers at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalismfrom the University of Oxford.

The report, presented this Wednesday, warns that the wave of negative news in recent years is widening the gap between part of the population and the traditional media. According to the study data, almost four in ten respondents say that they “often or sometimes” avoid the news on purpose: the percentage has increased from 29% in 2017 to 38% in 2022.

In the case of Spain, 35% indicate that they prefer not to watch, read or listen to the news, compared to 26% who did so five years ago. The reasons for this rejection are diverse: the majority say they feel exhausted from the repetition of news about politics or coronavirus, others point out that the news affects their mood, causes unnecessary discussions in their environment or simply gives them a feeling of helplessness.

But not only is there a disconnection, distrust has also grown. The Reuters Institute report warns that trust in the media has decreased in half of the countries analyzed, standing at 42%. In the case of Spain, this percentage drops substantially to 32%.

Young people prefer social networks

Another of the sections on which the research has focused is the relationship of young people with the media. The report concludes that those who disconnect allude to the fact that it is difficult for them to follow current events. The researchers point out that the solution may be "simplifying the language and explaining complex stories."

But the complexity of today is not the only thing that distances young people from the media. The report points out that those under 25, who have already grown up with social networks assimilated, show very different attitudes towards information than other generations.

The report points out that the so-called “social natives” have very little connection with the media and are generally uninterested in political issues. 78% of those between the ages of 18 and 24 access the news weekly through channels other than direct access to the media, which the report calls “side doors or alternatives”.

Among those alternative ways are news aggregators, search engines or social networks, instead of the web or media applications. Specifically, regarding social networks, the report indicates that young people do not use Facebook and opt for "visual networks" such as Instagram or TikTok, "where entertainment and influencers play a more important role".

In figures, 40% of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 use TikTok every week and 15% do so to read, comment or share news.

media revenue

The five researchers who have prepared the report have also focused on media financing, at a time when more and more newspapers have opted for subscription systems or paywalls. The X-ray of the 20 main markets where media is paid reveals that 17% pay for some publication, although the percentages are very different when it comes down to detail: 41% do so in Norway, only 9% in the United Kingdom. Spain is at the bottom of the table with 12%.

Regarding the specific case of the Spanish media market, the report shows that 79% of those who consume news do so through the Internet, and it presents one of the highest percentages (75%) of media consultation through mobile phones.

By media, the most consulted is El País, which 18% of those surveyed enter at least once a week. elDiario.es It is in seventh place tied with El Confidencial: both media are consulted once a week by 12% of those surveyed, while 5% enter more than three times a week.

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