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More Perspectives Desired in the News

More Perspectives Desired in the News

German findings of the “Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2024” on news usage in an international comparison published
Hamburg, 17 June 2024: Two thirds (66 percent) of adult internet users in Germany expect the news media to offer them different perspectives on current topics, but less than half (43%) consider this to be well fulfilled. The news media perform even worse when it comes to giving people a more optimistic view of the world. At the same time, this aspect is considered less important. The most important functions of the news media from the respondents' point of view are that they are kept up to date with current events and learn more about various topics and events.
These are the findings of the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2024, for whose German sub-study the Leibniz Institute for Media Research in Hamburg is responsible. The study is based on a total of almost 100,000 respondents from 47 countries on six continents. The survey in Germany was conducted in January 2024.

Internet Surpasses Television as the Most Important Source of News
To find out about current events, 67 percent of adult internet users in Germany use digital news services on the websites or apps of news providers or on social media at least once a week. Online news usage continues to be dominated by traditional providers from TV, radio and print: 45 percent regularly read, watch or listen to the content of established news providers on the internet; among 18 to 24-year-olds, the figure is 47 percent. However, when comparing individual online sources, social media is ahead with a weekly reach of 34 percent. Every second person under the age of 35 encounters news content on social media.
The internet is not only a regularly used source of news, but for the first time it is also the most important source of news for the majority of the adult online population in Germany. 42% say that the internet is their main source of news, closely followed by linear television broadcasts at 41%.
15 percent of respondents receive news mainly from social media. This proportion has risen continuously over the long term and is highest among 18 to 24-year-olds at 35%. For 16% of 18 to 24-year-olds, social media is even the only source of news.
Increasing Significance of Online News Videos
In 2024, WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook will remain the social media with the highest distribution among the adult online population in Germany. At the same time, they are used proportionately by most respondents within a week to search for, read, watch, share or discuss news (WhatsApp: 15%, YouTube: 21%, Facebook: 16%). In the youngest age group, news is primarily consumed on social media with a focus on moving images: 27 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds regularly come into contact with news content on Instagram, followed by YouTube with 24 percent and TikTok with 13 percent.
This is linked to the growing importance of online videos for the distribution and use of news. Just under half of adult internet users in Germany (49%) watch a short online news video (a few minutes or less) at least once a week. Longer news videos on the internet are used regularly by around a third (34%). For 26% of online news video users, the platform of a news provider is the most frequently used channel for watching online news videos. YouTube is close behind with 23%. By contrast, 18 to 24-year-olds mainly consume online news videos on the YouTube, Instagram and TikTok platforms. The video content viewed covers a wide range of different topics, with international news, domestic politics, the environment and climate leading the way.
Concern about Fake News, Especially on TikTok
Despite the increasing use of messages on social media, they tend to be met with skepticism. 41 percent of TikTok users find it difficult to distinguish between trustworthy and untrustworthy news. People also tend to distrust news disseminated on the platform X (formerly Twitter). Respondents have fewer concerns about news they receive via WhatsApp or Google search. Regarding online news in general, 42 percent of adult internet users in Germany express concerns about being able to distinguish fake news from facts (2023: 37%). Around a quarter (26%) have stated that they have come into contact with (potentially) false or misleading information on the topic of migration and politics.
Transparency and High Journalistic Standards Are the Most Important Reasons for Trusting the News
43 percent of adult internet users in Germany believe that most news can generally be trusted. This is the same number of respondents as last year, although it is the lowest figure since the question was first included in the Reuters Institute Digital News Survey in 2015. Trust in the news that respondents use themselves has also remained stable at 53 percent. Once again, the two main TV news programs of the public broadcasters are the two offerings with the highest trust ratings among the brands surveyed that respondents are familiar with. They are closely followed by regional and local daily newspapers.
For the first time, the study examined the aspects on which people base their trust in news media. It was particularly important to respondents that the media communicate transparently how news is produced. 74 percent rated this aspect as somewhat or very important. High journalistic standards (72%), (un)biased reporting (65%) and fair representation of “people like me” (65%) were also rated as important. Less important for trust in news is the question of whether news media can look back on a long history or whether they are too negative.
Great Skepticism towards Automatically Generated News
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in journalism is predominantly met with skepticism. Half of internet users in Germany who are 18 or older feel somewhat or very uncomfortable using news that has been produced mainly by AI with some human supervision. Acceptance is slightly higher when news is produced only with some help from AI, but mainly by human journalists. Around a third of all respondents (36%) feel somewhat or very comfortable using such news. People aged between 18 and 24 tend to be more open to using AI news than the average respondent. This applies in particular to predominantly automated news on the topics of sport, science and technology as well as celebrities and entertainment. In the context of political information, however, young people are also predominantly skeptical about the use of AI in journalism.

Information on the Study
Since 2012, the Reuters Institute Digital News Survey has conducted annual representative surveys in 47 countries to examine general trends and national characteristics of news usage. The study is coordinated by the Oxford (UK)-based Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and is conducted simultaneously in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Hungary, India1[1, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya1, Malaysia, Marocco1 (newly added in 2024), Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria1, Norway, Peru1, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa1, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand1, Turkey, and the USA. Around 2,000 people were surveyed in each country in 2024. The twelfth edition of the study is based on the responses of almost 100,000 respondents from 47 countries on six continents.
The fieldwork in Germany was conducted between 10 and 28 January 2024 by the survey institute YouGov, which drew samples based on online access panels that are representative of internet users aged 18 and over in the participating countries. Representative means that the sample represents a structurally identical image of the internet-using population regarding the variables of age, gender, region and education, or was weighted accordingly. In general, when interpreting the results, it should always be borne in mind that sampling from online access panels can lead to results that slightly overestimate aspects of internet affinity and the use of the social web. The standard error of the stated values is generally between one and three percent.
The Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut has been responsible for the German part of the study as a cooperation partner since 2013; the survey in 2024 was supported by the state media authorities and the Second German Television (ZDF).

Julia Behre, j.behre@leibniz-hbi.de
Information on the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
The Institute was founded in 2006 by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and is based at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. The Institute is an internationally active research center for comparative journalism studies that takes a global perspective in its research and provides a forum for researchers from a wide range of disciplines to meet with journalists from around the world. More at http://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/.
Information on the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
The Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut researches media change and the associated structural changes in public communication. Cross-media, interdisciplinary and independent, it combines basic science and transfer research and thus creates problem-relevant knowledge for politics, business and civil society. The institute was accepted into the Leibniz Association in 2019. More at www.leibniz-hbi.de/en.
[1] Limited representativeness of the sample


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