Report “Initial surge in news use around coronavirus in the UK has been followed by significant increase in news avoidance”

Year of production: 2020

Image is illustrative. Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

The report examines people’s news avoidance during the coronavirus pandemic in the UK based on a survey fielded from 7 to 13 May 2020. Among its highlights:

  • after an initial surge in news use, there has been a significant increase in news avoidance
  • women are more likely to avoid news than men
  • the vast majority of those who always or often avoid news say they are trying to avoid COVID-19 news at least some of the time, and most of them said they are primarily worried about the effect it has on their mood
  • more people say they are actively avoiding news that rely on intentional choice (television, news websites/apps)
  • about a third think that the coronavirus situation in the UK is heading in the right direction

The report is the third in a series of ten Factsheets included in 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

Photo of Richard Fletcher
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.

Photo of Rasmus Kleis Nielsen
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.