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Methodology

Methodology

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 using an online questionnaire at the end of January/beginning of February 2022.

  • Samples were assembled using nationally representative quotas for age, gender, and region in every market. Education quotas were also applied in all markets except Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Romania, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey. In Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Norway, the United States, and United Kingdom we also applied political quotas based on vote choice in the most recent national election. The data in all markets were 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 mostly in English in these markets,1 and restricted to ages 18–50 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 over 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.2 Some of our survey-based results will not match industry data, which are often based on different methodologies, such as web-tracking.

  • In April we conducted an additional survey to understand the impact of the war in Ukraine on media consumption in five countries (UK, US, Germany, Poland, and Brazil). Samples were around 1,000 in each case. We have indicated occasions where data come from this additional survey next to the appropriate chart.

  • In some cases, we have drawn on data from other 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 three countries (USA, UK, and Brazil) in February and March 2022. On occasion we have also used quotes from open questions from our main survey, clearly indicating this in each case.

  • YouGov work with a select handful of other panel providers in some markets. From time to time YouGov replace or combine providers to improve data quality. These providers include AIT, Borderless Access, Dynata, Netquest, and Toluna. From time to time we change the mix of providers to ensure best survey quality. 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 (https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/digital-news-report/2022).

Source: Internet World Stats (http://www.internetworldstats.com)

Authorship and research acknowledgements

Nic Newman is Senior Research Associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and is also a consultant on digital media, working actively with news companies on product, audience, and business strategies for digital transition. He writes an annual report for the Institute on future media and technology trends.

Dr Richard Fletcher is a Senior Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and leads the research team. He is primarily interested in global trends in digital news consumption, the use of social media by journalists and news organisations, and more broadly the relationship between computer-based technologies and journalism.

Dr Craig T. Robertson is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism whose interests include news trust and credibility, fact-checking and verification, and how both partisan attitudes and epistemic beliefs factor into these domains.

Dr Kirsten Eddy is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Digital News at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. She studies the interplay of journalism, politics, and digital media, with a focus on moral and civic media and political discourse.

Prof. Rasmus Kleis Nielsen is Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Professor of Political Communication at the University of Oxford, and served as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Press/Politics from 2015 to 2018. His work focuses on changes in the news media, political communication, and the role of digital technologies in both.

Market-level commentary and additional insight around media developments have been provided by academic partners and by our network of Reuters Journalist Fellows around the world. RISJ Senior Research Associate Dr David A. L. Levy did invaluable work editing and further developing many of the country profiles in this year’s report as did Giles Wilson. Additional expert analysis and interpretation of the survey data were provided by the team at YouGov, in particular, Charlotte Clifford, Josh Taylor, David Eastbury, and Mark Pellatt.

Footnotes

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 onwards 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 changes involving these years.