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Digital News Report Australia 2023: Australia records the widest gender gap in finance news globally as women lose interest in news

14 June 2023: The latest Digital News Report (DNR): Australia 2023 report released today recorded the widest gender gap globally in news consumption.

Women’s interest in news declined to a record low of 43 per cent. “As Australian women’s news access dropped considerably this year, they were noted among the lightest consumers of news, globally,” said DNR lead author Professor Sora Park.

Women’s low levels of interest, consumption and trust in news was also reflected in their reluctance to talk about politics and their understanding of finance and economics news. Australia has the highest gender gap in finance news with only 30 per cent of women compared to 54 per cent of men saying they find finance and economics news easy-to-understand.

The Australians’ general trust in news rose by two percentage points to 43 per cent, but wide gender gaps were noted in trust in news too. On one hand the report revealed a significant rise in trust in news among Australian men, but on the other, women’s trust in news declined.

“It is concerning to see the decline in women’s news consumption as it puts them at risk of missing key information. This needs to change.”

Men and women also differed on the news content that they avoided and the topics they avoid. Women, generally, avoid news on sport whereas men avoided news on social justice issues, entertainment and climate change. When avoiding news, women were more likely to scroll past or ignore news whereas men were likely to reduce the amount and type of news they consumed.

Other key findings include:
  • One in five Australians pay for online news taking the lead, globally;
  • 80 per cent of Australians say they have been affected somewhat or a great deal by changes to cost-of-living;
  • Australians are concerned about news algorithms, 61 per cent of Australians are concerned they might miss out on important information and 57 per cent worry they miss out on divergent views;
  • Australians prefer positive news stories, stories offering solutions, watchdog news reports and explainers;
  • The number of people using search engines to search for news stories increased by eight percentage points at 30 per cent;
  • Australians are careful when talking about politics – more than one-third (37 per cent) say they don’t discuss politics online or on social media, compared to 22 per cent who don’t talk about politics in person or on the phone;
  • News avoidance in Australia is higher than global average, at 69 per cent. For young people, the most common ways of avoiding news were ‘checking the news less often’ (32 per cent), ‘ignoring, scrolling past’ (31 per cent), and ‘avoiding particular news sources’ (30 per cent)
  • The popularity of podcasts is growing with 38 per cent of respondents saying they have listened to a podcast in the last month; and
  • For the first time, smart TVs are a more popular device for news (29 per cent), than tablets (23 per cent).

The DNR report is available in full here.