NewsOpenAI / ChatGPT / Artificial Intelligence

Study Finds Consumers Wary of AI-Created News Especially in Politics

Key Insights:

  • Survey shows 52% of U.S. and 63% of UK respondents uneasy with AI-produced news, particularly on political topics.
  • Despite digital growth, only 17% of global respondents pay for online news, unchanged over three years.
  • TikTok influencers eclipse traditional news brands, with 57% of users preferring personalities over journalists for news updates.

Global concerns regarding the use of AI in newsrooms are escalating, according to a report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. This report, based on surveys of nearly 100,000 people across 47 countries, presents the challenges news media face in generating revenue and maintaining business sustainability. 

Newsrooms worldwide are addressing the advent of generative AI technologies from companies like Google and OpenAI, which can provide information summaries and divert traffic from traditional news websites.

Consumer Distrust in AI-Generated News

The report indicates a substantial level of consumer skepticism about AI-generated news content, especially on sensitive topics such as politics. In the United States, 52% of respondents expressed discomfort with news predominantly produced by AI. This figure is even higher in the UK, where 63% of respondents shared this sentiment. The survey included 2,000 participants from each country, highlighting that people are more accepting of AI’s role behind the scenes, enhancing journalists’ efficiency.

Nic Newman, senior research associate at the Reuters Institute and lead author of the Digital News Report, noted the unexpected extent of suspicion surrounding AI in news production. He emphasized that the primary concern is the potential impact on the reliability and trustworthiness of content. 

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Additionally, worries about false news content have increased, with 59% of respondents expressing concern, up by three percentage points from the previous year. This concern is more pronounced in South Africa and the U.S., where 81% and 72% of respondents, respectively, are worried due to upcoming elections.

Challenges in Monetizing News Content

Another significant challenge for news organizations is the persistent reluctance of audiences to pay for news subscriptions. Despite a brief period of growth during the pandemic, the proportion of respondents across 20 countries who pay for online news has remained static at 17% over the past three years. In the U.S., a large number of subscribers are taking advantage of discounted rates through trials or promotions, with 46% paying less than the full price for their subscriptions.

The difficulty in monetizing content reflects broader issues in the media industry, where traditional revenue models are increasingly strained. Newsrooms must find innovative ways to engage audiences and encourage them to value and pay for quality journalism.

Influence of News Personalities on Social Media

The report also highlights the growing influence of news personalities on social media platforms like TikTok, where they often outshine mainstream media organizations in delivering news to users. In a survey of over 5,600 TikTok users who consume news on the app, 57% stated they primarily follow individual personalities, compared to 34% who follow journalists or news brands.

Vitus “V” Spehar, a TikTok creator with 3.1 million followers, is one such personality mentioned by survey respondents. Known for their distinctive approach of delivering news headlines while lying under a desk, Spehar offers a contrast to traditional news anchors and has garnered a significant following. This trend underscores the need for newsrooms to establish direct relationships with their audiences and strategically utilize platforms to connect with harder-to-reach demographics, such as younger audiences.

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Shift in News Consumption Patterns

The findings from the Reuters Institute’s report also shed light on shifting news consumption patterns. In the U.S., the top individuals cited by survey respondents for news are primarily known for political commentary rather than original reporting. This includes figures like Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan, and David Pakman, who have large followings and influence over public opinion.

This shift poses a challenge for traditional news organizations, which must compete with these influential personalities who often operate outside the conventional frameworks of journalism. To adapt, newsrooms need to find ways to integrate these new dynamics into their strategies, ensuring they remain relevant and trusted sources of information in a rapidly changing media landscape.


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Curtis Dye

Curtis is a cryptocurrency news and analytics author with a focus on DeFi, BLockchain, CeFi, NFTs etc. He has publication skills such as SEO optimization, Wordpress, Surfer tools and aids his viewers with insights on the volatile crypto industry.

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