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On Media Habits and Sources  

  • A strong appetite for news with 7 in 10 adults consuming news at least once a day, however this reduces to less than 5 in 10 younger adults
  • TV (67%) and radio (53%) are the two most popular and trusted sources of news
  • Research shows negative impact that news consumption has on nation’s mood.
  • Despite scepticism about its reliability, social media continues to be source of most news among younger adults with TikTok being the primary channel

On the economy

  • Concerns about the economy continue to ease somewhat with those who believe it will improve in the next year nearly doubling (from 11% to 20%) compared to last year.
  • People feeling less negative than they were over the Winter and there’s a jump in the percentage believing the country is “on the right track” compared to a year ago (from 24% to 32%).

New research suggests that Irish adults are strongly engaged in news with 7 in 10 adults consuming news at least once a day. TV (67%) and radio (53%), are the two most popular sources of news, and both rank highly in terms of trusted sources of news that is accurate, fair and balanced.

The new research was commissioned by permanent tsb as part of their Reflecting Ireland series which runs quarterly. The series examines attitudes to various issues and views on the economy. The research was undertaken by Core Research amongst 1,000 adults in May.

The research also found that consumption of news can also negatively influence a person’s or one’s emotional state, particularly among women. Over half of respondents (52%) report feeling emotionally downbeat after watching, listening to or reading the news, with pessimism and anxiety the most commonly felt emotions. This negative impact can result in a disengagement from news media with 3 in 10 adults consuming less news.

Over half (52%) also believe news media tends to take a very negative view with over 6 in 10 (61%) feeling overwhelmed by bad news.

The research conducted in May, paints a clear picture of the influence news has on the nation’s mood, as well as the changing landscape for Irish media outlets.

News consumption and sources

Key findings of this latest round of the series include:

  • 7 in 10 adults in Ireland consume news every day, with almost 50% of respondents saying they consider keeping up to date to be very or extremely
  • However young adults buck the trend significantly - almost 7 in 10 adults in the 18-24 age group don’t believe keeping up to date with news is very important and only 16% of them are very interested in news.
  • TV and Radio are the dominant sources of news (TV - 67%, Radio – 53%) followed by online news websites (53%). Social news sources are more important for younger adults with, for example, TikTok being the primary news source used by adults aged 18 – 24 years of age.
  • On the downside, adults report experiencing more negative emotions (than positive) when consuming news with pessimism being the most dominant emotion (almost 1 in 5 report feeling this). 3 in 10 adults report consuming less news than in recent years with those prone to feeling more negative when consuming news more likely to have reduced news consumption.
  • Women are more likely than men to feel the news has a negative effect on their mood, to feel overwhelmed by bad news and are less likely than men to check the news on a daily basis, with over a third (35%) saying they are consuming less news in recent years, compared to 27% of men.
  • On the issue of trust, traditional media scores highly. 74% of adults trust national radio, 72% trust national TV and 69% trust national print media.
  • That is in stark contrast to social media where only 1 in 5 adults trust Facebook and Twitter as news sources while this drops to just 1 in 7 for TikTok, Snapchat and Reddit.

Despite this, younger adults are shifting away from traditional news media in favour of non-traditional news sources, but as a result, are more likely to fact check.

When it comes to a breaking news story, a Google search is the number one route to find out more. A Google search is chosen by 33% of all adults as a starting point for a breaking story, followed by TV (23%) and radio (20%).

Social media habits and impact on wellbeing

The research also explored how adults engage with social media and how it makes them feel.

Key findings are:

  • Half of adults say the first thing they do when they pick up their phone is go to a social media app – far ahead of the 9% who opt for a lifestyle app, 7% who go for a game or entertainment or productivity app, and 5% who select a news app.
  • Half of social media users check in within half an hour of waking up and within half an hour of going to sleep.
  • Using a social media app is the first thing that 21% of adults do as soon as they wake up; it’s the last thing before going to sleep for 24% of adults.
  • 9 in 10 adults use social media but the overwhelming majority of adults are read-only – only 10% post frequently and 63% of adults never post at all.
  • 44% of adults say they spend too much time on social media but this varies significantly among age groups; 69% of under-24s say this but only 26% of over-55s do.
  • A third (33%) of adults say social media has a negative effect on their wellbeing, with just 22% saying it’s positive.

Speaking today, Leontia Fannin, Head of Corporate Affairs with permanent tsb said:

“There are a lot of positive findings in this research for traditional news platforms including TV, Radio, and Print.  As a nation we generally value news and want to keep up to date on current affairs. However, the battle for the next generation of news consumers is ferocious. And even though there is healthy scepticism about the reliability of news delivered via social media channels, it is still the dominant source for news amongst younger people.”

Consumer sentiment towards personal finances and the economy

The permanent tsb survey also explored people’s current attitudes to their finances and to the wider economy. The research shows that the mood is recovering, but slowly and measured. Economic outlook concerns continue to ease, but there’s still some way to go

Key findings here include:

  • Consumer sentiment appears to be improving, with fewer adults feeling worse off. 51% of adults felt worse off in May than they did a year earlier, representing a significant improvement on last Winter (November) when 63% of adults felt worse off.
  • In addition, the number of adults who expect to feel worse off in future continues to fall, with 33% saying this (compared to 47% last November).
  • 32% of adults say Ireland is on the right track, an improvement from 24% in July 2022; while 55% now say Ireland is on the wrong track, down from 63% over the same timeframe.
  • Looking ahead, the number of adults who think things will get worse has fallen from 67% last July to 43% in May, with the number of adults expecting things to get better almost doubling from 11% to 20%.
  • Overall, 47% of adults feel positive, with 52% feeling negative.

Speaking on the survey results, Behavioural Scientist, Claire Cogan of BehaviourWise said:

"We are spending more and more time online and on social media platforms. The lines around what constitutes a news source are blurring. It is good to see that young people in particular are prepared to fact-check news items they come across. It is also evident that spending so much time on social media can affect our emotions, with 1 in 3 reporting a negative impact on their mental wellbeing, rising to 1 in 2 among young people."

Read the full Reflecting Ireland report here.

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