The Reuters Institute digital survey for 2016

Foreword to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2016

This is our fifth annual report that explores the changing environment around news across countries. The report is based on a survey of more than 50,000 people in 26 countries, which makes it the largest ongoing comparative study of news consumption in the world – and twice as big as last year. A key focus is in Europe where we have done the bulk of our polling – but we are delighted to have added Canada and South Korea this year to the United States, Australia, Brazil, and Japan, which have been part of our survey for some time.

This year’s report comes against the backdrop of renewed concerns about the future of the news industry, the move to mobile, the rise of ad-blocking and the role of technical platforms and other intermediaries. We have data on many of these issues and find compelling evidence about the move to distributed content and the growing importance of social media as a source of news. Also this year we’ve looked to understand how branded news is found, consumed and shared in a more distributed news world with the help of some additional focus groups in the UK, US, Germany and Spain. We reference this research throughout the report and we’ll be publishing a full account of these sessions on our website later in 2016.

Once again we have combined the key data points with a series of essays, which add depth and context to the findings. New York Times CEO Mark Thompson reflects on the business challenges while Edelman UK CEO Ed Williams explores the importance of trust and the role of brands based on their ground-breaking work on these issues with the Edelman Trust Barometer. RISJ Director of Research Rasmus Kleis Nielsen explores our attitudes to algorithms in serving up relevant news stories and Ofcom’s Alison Preston has been exploring how young and older groups in the UK navigate issues like trust and credibility in a more fragmented and complex news ecosystem.

In terms of academic partnerships we are joined this year by the Centre d’études sur les médias, Université Laval,in Québec City, Canada. Our active research community includes the News and Media Research Centre at Canberra University in Australia, Dublin City University, Ireland, the Hans Bredow Institute in Hamburg, Roskilde University in Denmark, The University of Tampere in Finland – and the School of Communication at the University of Navarra in Spain.

Many of our partners are also organising events or country reports looking in more detail at national themes – and adding wider value to this international project.

We continue to make efforts to open up as much of the data as possible via our website at ( This contains slidepacks, charts and raw data tables, along with a licence that encourages reuse, subject to attribution to the Reuters Institute. Also this year, we have updated our interactive feature, which allows anyone to explore and visualise the data by themselves by country and over time.

We hope that all of this will continue to build into an invaluable resource for academics, media owners, journalists and those developing policy. A description of the methodology is available on the website along with the complete questionnaire.

Making all this possible, we are hugely grateful to our sponsors this year who include Google, the BBC, Ofcom, The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BIA), the Media Industry Research Foundation of Finland, the Fritt Ord Foundation in Norway, the Korea Press Foundation, Edelman UK, as well as our academic sponsors at the Hans Bredow Institute, the University of Navarra, the University of Canberra and the Centre d’études sur les médias, Université Laval in Canada.

We are also grateful to YouGov, our polling company, who did everything possible to accommodate our complex requirements and helped our research team analyse and contextualise the data.

I am particularly grateful to Nic Newman for his great work in leading our most ambitious Digital News Report to date and for surfacing such a rich analysis from a mass of data, to Richard Fletcher for all his work on the report, the data analysis and the country profiles, to Alex Reid and Hannah Marsh for so ably managing the process of moving from manuscript to print and web publication respectively.