The third annual Reuters Institute Digital News Report shows that as the online news environment grows ever more crowded, journalists play an important role in driving traffic to news brands and in encouraging people to pay for them.
The digital age has brought about a shift towards journalists as a key reason for using or trusting particular online sources of news.
The reputation of individual writers is cited as one of the key reasons why people might be prepared to pay for online news.
Following a year in which Glenn Greenwald emerged from relative obscurity to become a star name after his work with the fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2014 suggests he is part of a wider trend.
The report is based on a survey conducted in US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Brazil and Japan. Total sample size was 18859 adults with around 2000 per country. Fieldwork was undertaken at the end of January/start of February 2014. The survey was carried out online. The data was weighted to targets set on age and gender, region, newspaper readership and social grade to reflect the total population.
In a number of countries, notably France, Spain and the US, the role of the journalist is now considered almost as important in driving trust as the role of the news brand itself.
As report author Nic Newman says: “This is particularly true where traditional titles are weaker, or face challenge from online-only news sites, many of which are increasingly built around the personality and skills of a columnist or reporter”...
...Young people, the readers and viewers of tomorrow, are turning increasingly to mobile devices as their preferred way of receiving news and consequently “snacking” more in terms of both the time spent on sites and the type of content they consume.
Across all 10 countries surveyed, over a third (36percent) of 18-24s say the smartphone is now their primary access point for digital news. The report reveals that young people in particular (18-35) increasingly rely on social sources like Facebook and Twitter to discover news stories. It also highlights the rise of WhatsApp as a significant new network for sharing and discussing the news particularly in Spain, Italy and our sample in urban Brazil.