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  1. North America
June 17, 2024

US news trends 2024: Interest and trust in news slowly recovering

Trust, interest and the percentage paying for news all nudged up in 2024.

By Bron Maher

Trust and interest in news in the US appear to be slowly recovering from their lows between 2020 and 2022, figures in the 2024 Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism suggest.

A majority of American respondents to the latest annual survey said they were “very” or “extremely” interested in the news, after the figure spent two years below 50% in 2022 and 2023.

Trust in particular newsbrands has also risen across the board, although several brands are yet to regain the levels of trust they recorded five years ago.

Trust in US news outlets improves year-on-year

Overall the percentage of American survey respondents who said they trust the news “most of the time” was 32% this year — the same percentage as in 2023, but up six percentage points on 2022 when it hit a low of 26%.

That rise tracks with a partial return in appetite for news among US audiences. Having remained stable at approximately 67% between 2015 and 2020, the proportion of Americans who said they were "very" or "extremely" interested in news dropped 19 percentage points between 2020 and 2022. It has slowly been recovering since, to 49% in 2023 and 52% this year.

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The most trusted newsbrands in the US

Just over half (52%) of US respondents to the survey said they trusted BBC News, ABC News and CBS News, the highest scores for any individual brand. Local television news and regional newspapers in general were the only higher-scoring answers, with 62% of respondents saying they trust their area TV provider and 58% their paper.

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The BBC had the lowest "distrust" score of any newsbrand, at 23%, but was closely followed by The Wall Street Journal at 25%. This continues a trend of high trust ratings in the US for the UK public broadcaster.

Subtracting distrust from trust for net trust scores, the figures show a general increase in trust for individual newsbrands across the industry.

Fox News, which previously had a negative score, with more people distrusting it than trusting it, returned to a score of zero.

However taking a longer view, numerous brands have failed to recapture the trust they held in 2020. The BBC, in particular, remains significantly down on previous highs.

Percentage of Americans paying for news edged higher in 2024

The percentage of Americans who report paying for news nudged up to 22%, the highest it has been since the Digital News Report began asking. It had previously dipped from 21% to 19% between 2021 and 2022.

The US remains one of few markets where the average number of news subscriptions is two, along with Switzerland, Poland and France. Almost half (46%) of American subscribers reported paying less than full price for their news subscriptions.

The proportion of Americans saying they get their news online remained steady at 72%. The percentage who said they get news from television, meanwhile, increased for the first time since 2020, when it rose one percentage point to 59% before continuing to decline in 2021 and 2022. This time it increased three percentage points to 51%.

Last year's Digital News Report had put social media and television tied for the first time as a source for Americans' news: however this year social media stalled at 48%. Print also remained at the same percent as in 2023, on 16%.

This year the Reuters Institute asked Americans who use online video for news what kind of videos they are watching, finding both that consumption of all kinds of video content was higher among under-35s and that short-form video — i.e. Tiktok, Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts — has the greatest reach among both older and younger news users.

Nonetheless, a majority of under-35s who get news from video reported using long-form video and live streams for some of their updates.

The proportion of Americans who said they have listened to a podcast in the past month continued to rise, meanwhile. The figure had remained flat at 37% between 2021 and 2022, but rose to 41% in the 2023 Digital News Report and 44% this year.

Fox News remains the US newsbrand with the highest reach among Americans

Local television news continues to be Americans' most-used news source, with a fifth of Americans accessing it three or more times a week offline.

However the individual newsbrand with the greatest reach is Fox News, which is used at least three times a week by 19% of Americans offline — i.e., through televisions — and 12% of Americans online.

It is followed by CNN, which is used three times a week by 15% of Americans offline and 12% online.

Newsmax was included in this year's report for the first time, with 8% of Americans saying they used it for news at least once a week both online and offline.

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
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  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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