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Why are Australians avoiding the news? Report finds 62 per cent of people are tuning out

Interest in the news has dropped among Australians, and concern about fake news is on the rise, according to a new report.

The Digital News Report Australia 2019 has found just 58 per cent of people say they’re interested in news, a seven per cent drop from 2016.

News avoidance is up too, increasing from 56 per cent in 2017 to 62 per cent in 2019.

Tom Elliott says the findings are “a concern”.

“News organisations devote a lot of their time to try and tell you the stories, the things, that you need and want to hear,” the 3AW Drive host said.

Dr Caroline Fisher, Assistant Professor in Journalism at the University of Canberra and lead researcher of the report, said news avoidance may be due to the negativity of reporting.

“People do think that the news is too negative,” she said.

“Compared to other countries in the survey, Australian news consumers are more likely to think that than consumers in other countries.”

Dr Fisher said awareness about fake news is on the rise.

According to the report, 62 per cent of Australians say they’re concerned about fake news and 36 per cent of people are fact checking what they read.

“If there’s a good message out of this report, I think that there’s real evidence that people are acting on their concern about fake news,” Dr Fisher said.

“There is this section of news consumers who are actively fact checking.”

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