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Digital News Report: Australia 2017

News blues: over half of Australians avoid the news

56 per cent of adult Australians try to avoid the news occasionally or often, according to our latest national online survey of news consumption.

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Digital News Report 2017 Cover Page

The main reasons provided by news avoiders were: that news can have a negative effect on mood; news can't be relied upon to be true; and/or avoiders didn't feel that there is anything they can do about news stories.  More women (53%) than men (45%) find that news can have a negative effect on their mood and more men (18%) than women (11%) avoid news that can lead to arguments.

Interest in news remains strong with about 63% of participants saying they were extremely or very interested in news – a figure consistent with our 2016 survey.

  • ‘News about my region, city or town’ was rated with the highest level of interest, followed by ‘international news’ and then ‘news about crime, justice and security’.
  • Younger news consumers are more interested in softer news such as entertainment/celebrity news, arts/culture news, and weird news.

Social: 39% of respondents use Facebook to get news, with 15% using YouTube. But 41% of respondents said they didn’t use any of the social media brands listed in our survey for news consumption.

Lack of trust in news: Australians tend to trust the news they consume (48%) more so than they trust news in general (42%). There are a large number of people who neither trust nor distrust the news they use (33%).

Gender and news: more men are consuming online news while in the bathroom or toilet than women accessing news sites at work. Men prefer to share news articles via email, whereas women prefer social media or sharing face-to-face.

Download the Digital News Report: Australia 2017.

Dr Jerry Watkins, lead author, News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra
T +61 (0) 2 6201 2387


The Digital News Report: Australia 2017 is the third in a series of annual reports which tracks changes in news consumption in Australia over time, particularly within the digital space.  The Report is published by the University of Canberra’s News and Media Research Centre (N&MRC).

The online survey was conducted in Australia between late January and early February 2017. The final sample size was 2,004 adults who access news once a month or more.

The Australian survey forms part of a global study of 36 territories by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

Previous Reports

Digital News Report: Australia 2016

Digital News Report: Australia 2015