Blog: Reuters Digital News Report 2021

Senior Communications & Policy Officer Hanno Fenech reviews The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2021 on the future of media publishing

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford published its tenth annual Digital News Report last week, exploring the state of global media and news publishing in 46 countries across the world.

The report gives an overview of the current state of the UK media market with particular note to the challenges Covid-19 and lockdowns have posed for the industry, as well as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on news publishers around the world.

The report finds the pandemic accelerated existing media trends; namely, the acceleration of digital journalism and the decline of print and traditional advertising revenue.

Vitally, it also showed the value of accountable, reliable news and information during a critical public health emergency. Trust in the media and in the reliability of news increased significantly between 2020-2021 as people around the globe turned to trusted news providers for critical public health information.

In the UK, trust in the media increased overall by 8%. News consumption was significantly up, particularly during the first half of 2020. Broadcasters like the BBC, ITV and SKY saw increased viewership and reported trust-levels, but so too did other trusted news brands like the UK’s national broadsheet titles.

While the percentage of UK news consumers with paid subscriptions to news outlets remains low by comparison to other countries, several publishers such as The Times and The Telegraph saw big increases in paid subscribers. UK news consumers still report caution when it comes to the trustworthiness of unverified social media news, a positive sign for media literacy.

The economic challenges posed and accelerated by Covid-19 are worrying for news publishers, particularly local and regional titles. But recognition of the importance of accountable, reliable news and information will aid publishers as they rebuild following the pandemic.

UK newsreaders continue to choose accountable, regulated journalism. Being independently regulated by IPSO is one way publishers can demonstrate their commit to accountability.

The IPSO Mark serves as a visual symbol to the public that the news they read and share from IPSO regulated publishers is a curated, professionally-produced product held to the high standards set by the Editors’ Code of Practice, and that if they are concerned the Code has been breached, they can complain to IPSO as the independent regulator of the majority of newspapers and magazines in the UK.

Read the report here.