Surprising national differences in the rate of online participation. The Spanish (27%), Italians (26%), and Americans (21%) were more than twice as likely to comment on a news story via a social network as the British (10%). Meanwhile urban Brazilians were five times more likely to comment on a news site than the Germans or Japanese surveyed, and nearly half (44%) shared a news story on a weekly basis via a social network, with around one third (32%) doing so by email.

Download Digital News Report 2013


One of the largest comparative studies of online news habits ever carried out reveals national differences in our online behaviour. This is the second of the annual Reuters Institute Digital News surveys published by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) at Oxford University. You Gov online polls commissioned by RISJ were conducted with 11,000 online users in the UK, US, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Brazil and Japan.

Study author Nic Newman, a Research Associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and digital strategist, said: ‘Our findings suggest that the culture of a country is the main driver for how we engage with online news – playing an even greater part than the technical tools and devices we have to access it. People living in Brazil, Italy and Spain have much higher levels of interaction, both with the news sites and with each other, sharing and commenting about news stories. By contrast, although the Japanese appear to embrace the non traditional news sites, they have the lowest level of online and offline participation, followed by Germany, Denmark and the UK.’

The full 108-page report is available online on a dedicated new website ( containing slidepacks, charts, and raw data tables, with a licence that encourages reuse. The website is designed so it can also be used for mobile and tablet devices. A description of the methodology is available with the complete questionnaire.

This is the second in what the RISJ hope will be an annual series of reports that tracks the transition of the news industry towards an increasingly digital and multi-platform future.

Sponsors of this year’s research include Google, BBC, Ofcom, France Télévisions, and Newsworks, as well as RISJ’s academic partners the Hans Bredow Institute in Hamburg and Roskilde University, Denmark.

For further information, please contact
Kim Christian Schrøder and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen
Department of Communication, and

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