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How the world consumes news: Depends on where you live

Digital consumption of news is increasing all over the world, thanks to a rising usage of tablets and social media. People are still getting news through TV and newspapers, but mobile devices are expanding where and when people can access media.

Brazil ranks as one of the more Internet-friendly countries; consumers there prefer the web as their way of getting news, and more than half find stories through social media platforms.

Brazil also is one of the most social- and comment-friendly countries. In that country, 38 percent of urban survey respondents said they've commented on a news story on a social network recently. Germans and the Japanese are the least likely to share and participate in news online. 

These are some of the findings in a survey conducted online earlier this year by Oxford's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, asking people in countries including the U.S., Germany, Spain, Japan, Brazil and Denmark about their news consuming habits.

Here are some key findings:

  • News consumption on tablets increased by nearly doubled over the course of 10 months from 2012-2013.

  • Denmark has the largest percentage of news usage on smartphones, at 43 percent.
  • Close to 33 percent of all users around the world now get their news on at least two digital devices.
  • Still, technology is not erasing other ways of getting news: 81 percent of tablet users around the world still watch TV news; 49 percent read the newspaper; and 43 percent listen to radio news.
  • Out of all the countries, Brazil has the highest percentage of online consumers -- 90 percent -- and 53 percent choose the Internet as their preferred way of getting news. Meanwhile, more than half of the French consumers still prefer TV, as opposed to 23 percent who choose online.
  • Half of the world still pays for a newspaper every week -- but only 5 percent pay for digital news weekly.

  • Sixty percent in Brazil say their main source of finding news online is through social media, like Facebook posts. That is 30 percent in the U.S.
  • The top three online brands consumed in the U.S. (in order): Yahoo, Fox News, Huffington Post.

  • Overall, Germans and the Japanese are the least likely to share and participate in news online.

See the whole survey here.

About the author

Chau Tu is the former assistant web producer for Marketplace.
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