Lifestyle Over half of Australians avoid the news

Over half of Australians avoid the news

Around half of adult Australians find the news too negative or unreliable and regularly try to avoid it, according to University of Canberra researchers.

The survey found that adults avoid the news occasionally or often because it  has a negative effect on mood, can’t be relied upon to be true, or there was nothing they can do about news stories.

More women than men find that news can have a negative effect on their mood, while more men than women avoid news that can lead to arguments.

The report’s lead author and Director of the UC’s News and Media Research Centre, Dr Jerry Watkins, said the report highlights the complicated issues emerging around trust in news.

“Social media continues to grow as the preferred main source of news for younger Australians, yet less than a third of under-35 year olds say that news on social media helps them to distinguish fact from fiction,” Dr Watkins says.

“It’s likely that fake news and an increasingly polarised media landscape are contributing to this unexpectedly high level of news avoidance, which is a particularly worrying sign.”

2017 was the third year the survey had been conducted and was the first time it featured an analysis of gender and news.

Results show more men than women access online news, while more women than men prefer television news coverage. Men share news articles via email, whereas women prefer social media or sharing face-to-face.

Read about more of the study’s findings here. Story credit: University of Canberra newsroom.

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