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Do women and men consume news differently?

What's New in Publishing 12 Jan 2021 08:00

Key findings from a RISJ report

Research has definitively shown that women have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, from being more likely to lose a job to having to assume additional unpaid duties, to suffering from the surge in domestic violence.

To better understand how this trend shapes the way women interact with news, it’s important to understand what are the gender differences in news consumption in the first place. The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has published a report on women and news, based on surveys in 11 world countries. We picked four of the report’s key findings.

Interest in news: political news vs. health & education news

According to surveys in the countries covered by the report, men are more likely to say they are interested in news than women. For example, in Germany 72% of men and 63% of women say they are extremely or very interested in news. In most cases, the difference is around 10 percentage points.

Also, there’s a difference in the types of news consumed by different genders. Men are more likely to be interested in political news, while more women follow health & education news. (It remains an open question to what extent traditional gender stereotypes, men’s privilege to have time for following more abstract topics, and other potential factors all play a role in this differentiation).

Sources of news: TV vs. social media

Misinformation and trust in news: no noteworthy difference 

When it comes to concern over fakes and misleading information, there are no gender differences in the US, UK, and Germany. In Finland and a few non-European countries, women are noticeably more concerned with the issue, while Hong Kong is the only surveyed market where men express more concern than women.

Conversely, women are more likely to discuss news face-to-face with friends and colleagues. It’s the case in Finland and multiple non-European countries, although there’s no considerable difference in the UK and Germany.

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COVIDStudy of JournalismRISJFinlandGermany
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