Do you feel news fatigue? / L’information vous fatigue-t-elle?

Speaker: Jeffrey Gottfried, Senior researcher at Pew Research Center / Intervenant: Jeffrey Gottfried, chercheur au Pew Research Center

Gottfried started out by simply asking the room “who here is feeling news fatigue?”

A large majority of the room raised their hands.

This quick survey squares well with the research Gottfried has conducted on this phenomenon in the United States, where 7 out of 10 Americans report feeling worn out by the amount of news they receive. While this fatigue can be seen across the political spectrum in the US, news fatigue is more common among those who follow news less closely, than among avid news consumers, according to Gottfried.

A clear example of this can be seen in the effect of the extensive coverage of the 2016 presidential elections in the US. Four months prior to any votes being cast, 59% of Americans reported to be worn out by the extensive coverage of the campaign, Gottfried explained. While almost half the public expressing that the personal lives and comments of candidates were getting too much coverage, many felt that the political stances and experiences of candidates were undercovered, according to Gottfried.

According to Gottfried, the problems caused by made-up news is perceived as a major problem in the US, with more people reporting that fake news constitutes a bigger problem for America than terrorism, immigration and sexism. Gottfried explained that while the public is more likely to say activists and political leaders are to blame for this, they still expect journalists to be the ones responsible for dealing with the problem.

When faced with made-up news, 4 out of every 10 Americans respond by reducing the amount of news they consume, according to Gottfried. He also underlined that people who are less politically involved are much more likely to tune out and consume less news to combat made-up news, in comparison to those news consumers that are more politically engaged.

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