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Trust in Irish media grew last year but most adults sceptical about social networks


Smartphones dominate news consumption online

Smartphones dominate news consumption online

Smartphones dominate news consumption online

Ireland’s trust in professional news media rose in the last year, with a majority of adults professing scepticism of what they see on social media.

These are some of the main findings from the latest Reuters Digital News Report for Ireland, which surveyed 2,000 people.

Ireland’s largest news media brands ranked highest in the report’s ‘most trusted’ list, with the Irish Independent, RTÉ and the Irish Times all achieving a ‘trust’ rating of over 73pc.

Other significant Irish news brands maintained a majority ‘trust’ rating, including the Irish Examiner (71pc), Virgin Media News, (71pc), Newstalk (70pc), The Journal (64pc) and the Irish Daily Mail (52pc).

However, young people and those on lower incomes say they are badly or inadequately represented in the mainstream media.

Almost half of adults under 25 say that they are “unfairly” covered in news media, a far higher level of unhappiness than any other age group.

And less than half of those on lower incomes said that they were “fairly represented” in the national media, compared to 69pc of higher earners who were happy with how they are portrayed.

Meanwhile, the number of people paying for a news subscription rose by a third in the last year, to one in six people. This is higher than the EU average (15pc) and the UK (8pc), while being on par with the US.

The report says that there has been an increase “across all age groups” in those who have subscribed, donated, or paid a news organisation to view content.

Overall, Irish people are Europe’s biggest news addicts, with 70pc saying they are “extremely” or “very interested” in news, a 5pc increase from 2020. This tops the UK (51pc), US (54pc) and the EU average (60pc).

But 51pc of Irish people are “generally sceptical” of news they see on social media. This is strongest among people over 65,  75pc of whom are ‘concerned about what is real and what is fake on the internet’, compared to just over half of 18- to 24-year-olds.

The biggest source of ‘fake news’ for people is around Covid-19, the report claims, with half saying they are exposed to misleading claims. Politics (28pc) comes next, followed by celebrities (25pc) and climate change (19pc).

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At least 60pc of online news in Ireland is accessed on smartphones, with PCs (27pc) and tablets (11pc) far behind.

The generations are divided on whether news outlets should try to be ‘neutral’ on issues. While people over 35 like “impartial” reporting, younger people say that they want a slant on news reports.

A majority (53pc) of people say that ‘news’ can be trusted. This is higher than the EU (45pc); the UK (37pc) or the US (37pc).

The Reuters Digital News Report for Ireland is conducted in association with the Broadcast Authority of Ireland and the Institute for Future Media, Democracy and Society (FuJo) at Dublin City University.

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