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Digital News Report: Australia

Digital News Report: Australia 2021


This year’s report reveals the rapid increase in news consumption by Australians at the start of the pandemic has not been maintained. The proportion of people paying for it has not increased, and interest in news has declined since 2020.

We also find Australians have become more trusting of news in general but concern about misinformation remains high. However, many Australians lack adequate levels of media literacy to identify it and the majority are unaware of the financial difficulty facing the news industry.

  • Trust in news has rebounded to 43% but is well below the high of 53% trust in COVID-19 news coverage found in April 2020.
  • News consumption has fallen from the COVID-19 high, with heavy news use dropping from 69% in April 2020 to 51% in January 2021, and lower than previous years.
  • Interest in the news continues to decline, with those expressing high interest down from 64% in 2016 to 52% in 2021.
  • Most Australians support impartial and balanced news; 73% agree news should present a range of views and 71% say news should give equal time to all sides.
  • Women and young people say they are underrepresented in news, with 26% of Gen Z women saying news does not give their gender enough coverage.
  • Local news continues to be an important part of Australian’s news diet, and the findings confirm a significant role of local newspapers in generating a sense of community.

For more information, please read the final report.

Download the report


This report is part of a long running international survey coordinated by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, an international research centre in the comparative study of journalism based at the University of Oxford. The Digital News Report delivers comparative data on media usage in 46 countries and across 6 continents.

The News and Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra is the Australian partner institute and author of the Digital News Report: Australia. This is the seventh annual Digital News Report: Australia.

Cite the report as: Park, S., Fisher, C., McGuinness, K., Lee, J.Y. & McCallum, K. (2021). Digital News Report: Australia 2021. Canberra: News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra.


Professor Sora Park, lead author, News and Media Research Centre, University of Canberra

Please complete our online briefing request form to have a member of the N&MRC present on our research.

Previous Digital News Reports

Download our Digital News Report: Australia 2020

Download our Digital News Report: Australia 2019

Download our Digital News Report: Australia 2018

Download our Digital News Report: Australia 2017

Download our Digital News Report: Australia 2016

Download our Digital News Report: Australia 2015

Previous Media Stories, Podcasts and Interviews

  1. The Fourth Estate Podcast with Peter Fray: Are Australians Turning Their Back On The News?
  2. Radio National Drive: More Australians are sick of bad news
  3. 3AW: Why are Australians avoiding the news? Report finds 62 per cent of people are tuning out
  4. ABC News 24:
  5. ABC Melbourne Breakfast: Tired of the news cycle? You’re not alone, says report
  6. The Guardian Australia, Australian politics live podcast: Why are Australians avoiding the news?
  7. ABC Radio, The World Today: Trust in the media is falling while fake news anxiety rises, report finds
  8. ABC Adelaide Drive with Jules Schiller: Wednesday June 12, 2019
  9. ABC 666 Drive with Anna Vidot: Digital News Report: Australia 2019
  10. ABC Nightlife: Wednesday June 12, 2019
  11. 2SER: Are Australians interested in news?
  12. Chris Kenny on Media, Sky TV: Research shows online shift is a ‘crisis’ for news organisations
  13. Democracy Sausage with Mark Kenny: Trust issues and the Trump bump
  14. Media Files podcast: Australians’ trust in news media is falling as concern over ‘fake news’ grows
  15. Content Group Govcomms podcast part 1: Giving up on news: The latest trends in digital news consumption with Caroline Fisher
  16. Content Group Govcomms podcast part 2: A Matter of trust: Rebuilding citizen trust with Caroline Fisher
  17. 3RRR Room With a View: Monday 17 June 2019
  18. ABC Adelaide Drive - Thursday 14th June with Caroline Fisher.
  19. ABC Melbourne Drive - Thursday 14th June with Caroline Fisher.
  20. Triple J's Hack - Thursday 14th June with Caroline Fisher.
  21. ABC 666 Mornings - Thursday 14th June with Caroline Fisher.
  22. What's the future of media for young people? - 'The roundtable', ABC Radio National, Monday 25th June with Sora Park.
  23. Digital trends and opportunity for government communication - Content Group Govcomms podcast, Tuesday 31st July with Caroline Fisher.
  24. Policy Forum Pod Extra: protecting the media - Tuesday 7th August, with Caroline Fisher.