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This study has been commissioned by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism to understand how news is being consumed in a range of countries. Research was conducted by YouGov (and their partners) using an online questionnaire at the end of January/beginning of February 2021.

  • Samples were assembled using nationally representative quotas for age, gender, region in every market, and education in all markets except Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Romania, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey. In the US, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Italy we have applied additional political quotas based on vote choice in the most recent national election. The data in all markets were also weighted to targets based on census/industry-accepted data.

  • Data from India, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa are representative of younger English-speakers and not the national population, because it is not possible to reach other groups in a representative way using an online survey. The survey was fielded in English in these markets,1 and restricted to ages 18 to 50 in Kenya and Nigeria. Findings should not be taken to be nationally representative in these countries.

  • More generally, online samples will tend to under-represent the news consumption habits of people who are older and less affluent, meaning online use is typically over-represented and traditional offline use under-represented. In this sense, it is better to think of results as representative of the online population. In markets in Northern and Western Europe, where internet penetration is typically around 95%, the differences between the online population and national population will be small, but in South Africa (58%) and India (54%), where internet penetration is lower, the differences between the online population and the national population will be large.

  • These differences mean we need to be cautious when comparing results between markets, especially on issues where we know that the sample would potentially make a significant difference (e.g. paying for news or podcasts).

  • It is also important to note that online surveys rely on recall, which is often imperfect or subject to biases. We have tried to mitigate these risks through careful questionnaire design and testing. Despite other limitations, surveys are able to capture media consumption across platforms, including social media, messaging apps, and websites. They are also a good way of tracking activities and changes over time – in a consistent way.2

  • It is important to note that some of our survey-based results will not match industry data, which are often based on different methodologies, such as web-tracking. The accuracy of these approaches can be high, but they are also subject to limitations.

  • In some cases, we have drawn on data from other surveys or from industry sources and have signalled this in the text or as a footnote. We have also used selected quotes from focus groups and interviews conducted in four countries (USA, UK, Germany, and Brazil) in February 2021. On occasion we have also used quotes from open questions from our main survey, clearly indicating this in each case.

  • A fuller description of the methodology, panel partners, and a discussion of non-probability sampling techniques can be found on our website along with the full questionnaire.

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1 Respondents in India could choose to complete the survey in Hindi and respondents in Kenya could chose Swahili, but in both cases the vast majority selected an English survey.

2 From 2012 to 2020 we filtered out respondents who said that they had not consumed any news in the past month. From 2021 we included this group, which generally has lower interest in news. In previous years this group averaged around 2–3% of the starting sample in each market, meaning that the decision to include it has not affected comparative results in any significant way. Some figures have been affected by one or two points in the UK, USA, and Australia, and we have taken this into account when interpreting year-on-year change.