Aussies Crave Authentic News Amid AI Disruption and Social Shifts

fake news, news authenticity

Research Report: Digital News Consumption Trends in Australia 2024

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the way Australians consume news is undergoing a significant transformation.

The latest edition of the Digital News Report by the News and Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra highlights while AI continues to rise, its use is continually negatively impacting audience trust. It also shows the growth of short-form video and the increase in news fatigue.

Also of note, SBS has knocked off The ABC as Australia’s most trusted news source.

The Rise of AI and Short-Form Video

One of the most notable developments is the increasing adoption of generative AI tools like ChatGPT in journalism. While these technologies offer new opportunities, there are concerns among Australian audiences regarding AI-generated content. The report indicates that only 59% of Australians are comfortable with fully AI-created news, compared to 45% globally. Australians prefer journalism produced primarily by humans with AI assistance.

Short-form video content is booming, especially with younger audiences. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of Gen Z rely on social media as their main news source, a 17 percentage point increase from last year. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels have become vital for reaching this demographic.

Social Media’s Evolving Role

Social media remains critical, with 49% of Australians using it to access news (up 4 percentage points from 2023).

However, Meta’s closure of its News Tab and deprioritising of political content on Instagram threaten visibility.

Key Statistics & Challenges

  • Over half of Australians (51%) access news more than once per day (+3 percentage points)
  • Trust in news fell slightly to 40% but distrust is rising faster, now at 33% (+8 percentage points)
  • 68% of Australians avoid news, close to the global average
  • News fatigue is increasing, with a 13 percentage point rise since 2019 in those “worn out” by news volume

Key learnings

As the University of Canberra researchers highlight, trustworthy news is vital in tumultuous times of inflation, conflict, and climate change. But financial pressures and avoidance pose threats.

Industry experts suggest leveraging AI and short videos strategically to engage audiences while addressing authenticity concerns. New business models and cross-sector collaboration could also bolster a diverse, sustainable news ecosystem.

The Australian media landscape is rapidly evolving. By staying attuned to these trends highlighted in the Digital News Report and embracing innovation, news and marketing organisations can continue delivering valuable content that resonates with audiences.

Read the full report here.

Image; Pexels, Google Deep Mind

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