Online media as a source of news now surpasses that of print media and TV news in Finland.

Sixty-eight percent of people in Finland go directly to the internet apps to check the news, according to the survey-based Oxford University and Reuters Institute Digital News Report for 2020, published today.

Finns also use social media  more often for news compared to last year, the report finds. Trust in the news and news media remains fairly high.

According to the report, 88 per cent of Finns say they follow the news online. The popularity of the internet as a news source has gradually increased, surpassing traditional media channels.

Forty-three percent of Finns use social media as a news source on a weekly basis. Social media is the main news source for nearly one in ten (9 per cent). Young people in particular use social media for following the news.

“Social media services are not actual news media, but news is also important to them,” says Esa Reunanen, senior research fellow  at the University of Tampere. “Current news topics are commented on social media, and the news media itself as well as other social media users share news stories on social media.”

In general, Finns are interested in the news. As many as 67 percent of Finns say they are very or quite interested in the news. In this respect Finland is among the top ten countries in terms of people’s interest in the news.

Independent journalism seen as important

Seventy-seven per cent of Finns view independent journalism as being important for the functioning of society. The proportion of people in Finland who consider independent journalism to be important is greater on average than in other countries.

As in previous years, out of all the countries taking part in the survey, Finns trust the news the most. As much as two-thirds of Finns trust most of the news they search. A little over half of Finns say they trust most of the news overall.

Since 2015, Finns’ trust in most news has fallen by 12 percentage points, but trust in most of the news they follow has decreased by only 4 percentage points. In general, however, Finns consider mainstream news media to be relatively reliable.

The report states, “While still comparatively very high, trust in news is slowly declining. This may be because of polarising tendencies in this traditionally consensual society or because the debate about so called ‘fake news’ has undermined trust overall.”