The Future of News
The BBC’s Director of News and former Times editor, James Harding, has launched a new report called The Future of News, which looks at the way in which news consumption is changing. This is the first step in the BBC rethinking its role as a news provider.
The report is a useful reminder that tv news is still the main source of news for most people in the UK – but its reach is significantly higher amongst older people than younger audiences (92% v 52%). Harding’s conclusion is that there is a growing information gap between older, richer, well informed audiences and poorer, younger, ethnic minority, less well informed audiences. The internet, Harding argues, is not keeping everyone informed – it is magnifying problems of information inequality, misinformation, polarization and disengagement.
The report also notes that BBC News needs to ‘broaden the tone of what we do.’ This follows criticism – from IBT and others – that the range of stories and voices is narrowing.
The provision and consumption of online news
As part of the news review, the BBC asked independent consultants Mediatique, to analyse where a range of audiences go for their news consumption. If you want to understand the changing news landscape this is a useful report, rich in detail. It’s great that the BBC is making this publicly available.
The report looks at where online audiences go to find their news and BBC News comes out top (47%), followed by Mail Online (14%); Sky News (12%); Guardian (9%); HuffPo (9%) and Daily Telegraph (6%). Smaller news sites like Vice and Buzzfeed are growing rapidly. BBC News is the most trusted news source with ITV News coming second.
The report also reveals the growing role played by Google, Twitter and Facebook as news gatekeepers. Asked how they discover news online, 45% said they go to known brands; 29% said they use search engines; 17% said they follow links posted on social media.