Old, Educated, and Politically Diverse

The Audience of Public Service News

Anne Schulz, David A. L. Levy, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen – Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism


Public service media are often widely used, highly trusted, and do not face the business pressures with which their private peers have to contend. But a closer look suggests that the challenges that face public service media news provision are bigger – much bigger – than is commonly acknowledged, even in countries with a long history of strong public service media. This report analyses survey data from a sample of eight countries to assess the reach of public service news. It finds that the audience for public service news is old, educated, and politically diverse, and that public service media in many countries fall far short of the ambition to provide a near-universal news service, especially online. While they are among the most widely trusted news sources, they are often less trusted by people on the political right and people with populist attitudes.

Full report