Four in 10 people in Ireland ‘worn out by the amount of news there is these days’

News and information overload a ‘common complaint’, Reuters Institute digital news report finds, but more people now pay for news

Some 53% of people say they are 'extremely' or 'very' interested in news, but this is down from 70% in 2015. Photograph: iStock

Four in 10 people in Ireland say they are “worn out by the amount of news there is these days”, with women and people aged 25-44 most likely to report news fatigue.

Some 44 per cent of people also say that they “often or sometimes” actively avoid the news, up 10 percentage points on the number of people who said they did a year ago.

Meanwhile, more than half of media consumers say they are uncomfortable with news being produced “mostly by AI” with only “some human oversight”.

These are among the findings of a survey of more than 2,000 people in Ireland conducted as part of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism’s global digital news report.


Online news outlets, excluding social media and blogs, have nudged ahead of television broadcasters as the most popular “main” source of news cited by respondents. Although this comes with the caveat that the poll was conducted online and tends to underrepresent traditional offline news consumption, it is the first time that such a finding has emerged from the annual survey.

The “good news”, according to an analysis of the Irish survey by DCU’s Institute of Future Media, Democracy and Society (FuJo), is that Irish consumers are more likely to say they are interested in news than their counterparts in the UK and US, despite news and information overload being a “common complaint”.

Some 88 per cent of respondents said they were either “extremely”, “very” or “somewhat” interested in news, which was also higher than the European average of 85 per cent.

The willingness of Irish consumers to pay for news content has also increased, with 17 per cent now doing so, up from 15 per cent last year. Among those who subscribe to a news provider, The Irish Times was the most popular choice, selected by 38 per cent, with the Irish Independent next on 33 per cent.

The rebound in news avoidance rates will be a source of concern to the news industry, especially as an increase in avoidance habits in the wake of the pandemic was largely unwound by 2023. But outlets will be relieved that trust in news among Irish consumers, though down slightly overall, remains high by international standards, with some outlets seeing trust levels edge higher.

These include RTÉ, which is trusted by 72.4 per cent, up from 71 per cent – which FuJo said was “particularly notable” given the corporate governance scandal at the broadcaster over the past year – and The Irish Times on 72 per cent, up 2 percentage points.

This year’s study marks a continuation of a long-term trend of declining news interest and rising news avoidance across the globe. In 2015, 70 per cent of people in the Irish survey said they were “extremely” or “very” interested in news. Now only 53 per cent do.

FuJo’s analysis also points to a significant age and gender differences in news interest and consumption, with 73 per cent of people aged 65-plus describing themselves as “extremely” or “very” interested in news, but only 30 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds indicating the same.

Some 46 per cent of women report that they are “extremely” or “very” interested in news, compared with 61 per cent of men.

“News publishers would be wise to do more to kindle women’s interest in news, as 41 per cent are nonetheless ‘somewhat interested’ in news,” said FuJo.

Its report, which is sponsored by media regulator Coimisiún na Meán, also observed “stark” differences between the news preferences of men and women. Women are “much more” interested in local news, crime and personal security, mental health, education, lifestyle and culture, “fun” news, and entertainment and celebrity news. They are also more interested in environmental and social justice news. Men are more interested in sport, politics, international news, science and technology, and business and economic news.

Politicians “will need to do more to generate engaging news for reporters”, the report notes, given only 37 per cent of women declare an interest in political news, compared to 50 per cent of men.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics