Report “Information inequality in the UK coronavirus communications crisis”

Year of production: 2020

Image is illustrative. Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

The report examines information inequality and other social differences in how people have navigated the coronavirus communications crisis in the UK based on data from a series of surveys fielded fortnightly since mid-April 2020. Among its highlights:

  • a ‘rally around the news’ effect has been observed, as the initial rally around the UK government quickly evaporated,
  • overall news use levels remain higher than before the crisis, though COVID-19 news use has declined significantly from mid-April to late June.
  • as news use has fallen, inequalities in COVID-19 news use have grown (in the sense that news use has become unevenly distributed).
  • gaps in news use by age and gender have grown
  • there are differences in levels of COVID-19 news use by household income and levels of formal education. However, the gaps have remained at the same size since mid-April
  • news avoidance has risen slightly since April, and women are consistently more likely to say they avoid news than men.

The report is part of the UK COVID-19 news and information project that analyses how the British public navigates information and misinformation about coronavirus and about how the government and other institutions are responding to the pandemic.


Reuters Institute

University of Oxford

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Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen is the Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Professor of Political Communication at the University of Oxford.

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Richard Fletcher

Richard Fletcher is a Senior Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and leads the Institute’s research team.

Photo of Antonis Kalogeropoulos
Antonis Kalogeropoulos

Antonis Kalogeropoulos is a Lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool and a Research Associate of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

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Felix M. Simon

Felix is a OII DPhil Student, a research assistant at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and a Fellow at Columbia University's Tow Center. As a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholar he is researching AI in journalism and the news industry.