News that makes us depressed and distrustful of the press

The bad news is that global news confidence has fallen by 2% in the last year and is 42% by 2022. The worst news is that Romania has a significant decrease in confidence in the news, a difference of 9 percent from last year and until today, in 2022 confidence in the news is only 33% in our country, and the percentage of undecided, those who do not know if to trust or not is 35%. The lowest level of confidence is in the United States – 26%, and the highest in Finland – 69%.

About 40% of those surveyed globally say they avoid consuming news. Why? Let’s look at the answers valid for Romania:

• 43% – too much news related to the policy and / or situation of COVID diseases;
• 36% – have a negative effect on mood;
• 29% – the amount of news is too high;
• 29% – the news is not reliable, it is biased;
• 17% – lead to discussions that I want to avoid;
• 16% – news information has no practical use, it does not help me at all.

As a result, almost 40% of respondents no longer consume news because they are depressed. “Well, then, how do you know what the world around you looks like? How do you form relevant opinions and make informed decisions? ”Rhetorically asked one of the experienced journalists present at the launch of the report. The public is indifferent and does not even bother to offer logical and reasoned answers to such questions, and journalists refuse to accept that the “depression” they serve with the information comes from the aggressive verbal and visual language they use. -they embraced as a natural way of working. And, as the press and the public do not even discuss this topic, next year will probably show a mood even more aggressed by our editorial content.

Let’s stop at the last digit, for those who consider the content of the news irrelevant for their life. At first you might think that the answer reflects an inability of newsrooms to provide the right content for the public, but that’s not all. Additional data from the studio shows that the young audience in particular does not understand the news. Simply put, 1 in 10 young people say they do not understand the content of a news story they read online or watch on TV. In addition, most respondents emphasized the need for the news to provide additional, contextual explanations.

And now comes the even bigger surprise. Do you know the heated discussions about TV stations, especially the news and the labels put on them in the public market, labels related to the parties they support? Well, according to Digital News Report 2022, similar to what is observed in the Nordic countries, in Romania only 1 in 4 Romanians believes that newsrooms are politicized. Instead, 6 out of 10 are convinced that newsrooms are under commercial pressure. These are certain data, the explanations are not precise. We can only speculate. One half-explanation could be related to the sample of respondents, much more relevant to the digital environment, less TV consuming, another to overlapping economic and political pressures, which could create some confusion in the minds of respondents. Let’s not forget that in 2021, only two of our political parties spent 12.2 million euros on “media and propaganda”, although it was not an election year. The amount comes from public money intended to support the activity of parliamentary parties and to the repeated requests of journalists for explanations regarding the spending of these amounts the parties responded with an outrageous silence.

It is true that in Romania, too few of us are willing to understand the fact that quality content cannot be generated for free and that it is necessary to pay for good quality information, put in context. But it’s not just our problem, it’s a global trend. Despite significant increases in pay for online news in several economically developed countries, such as Australia (+5 points), Germany (+5) and Sweden (+3), there are signs of stagnation overall. In 20 countries where payment is widespread, 17% have made at least one payment for online news content, the same as last year. A larger proportion of digital subscriptions go to a few national brands – strengthening the “winner takes it all” dynamic. Only 5% of subscribers pay for a local title in the UK and only 3% in Portugal, but the figures are much higher in Norway (53%) and Sweden (43%). Subscribers generally have above average revenues, are older, better educated, and tend to pay for a single publication.

The sources used by those who inform themselves from Social Media look like this:

• 63% – Facebook
• 36% – YouTube
• 31% – Whatsapp
• 20% – Facebook Messsenger
• 14% – Instagram
• 10% – TikTok

Question marks related to the complete honesty of the respondents appear when we look at the reliable figures of the publications and the type of news that the respondents are interested in. RTV and Antena 3 are the worst in terms of public trust with 46% and 33% respectively. But the audience figures show a completely different picture.

What news does the report show that is interesting to respondents:

63% – local news
59% – international news
51% – lifestyle
50% – politics
50% – environment and climate change
50% – science and technology
48% – culture
47% – education
47% – COVID situation
45% – financial news
42% – funny news
41% – sports

The full report can be read here.

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