Digital news report: Some of the Nordic results 2020

NEWS | 1 September 2020

Norway keeps its position as world leader in paying for online news, and Finland as the country with the most trusted media. As shown in the Digital News Report 2020, which compares online news consumption across six continents.

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has published its ninth annual report, tracking and comparing online news consumption in 40 markets across six continents. Below, we present a few of the results, focusing on the four Nordic countries included in the survey.

Important to note is that the results refer to online populations who use news at least once a month. [1]

Paying for news: Norway keeps the lead

In Norway, paying for online news is more widespread than in any other market in the survey. 42 per cent of the respondents in Norway say they have paid for or accessed paid for online news during the last year.

This is a significant lead; in second place comes Sweden, at 27 per cent. Finland and Denmark have among the highest levels of payment for online news as well with 19 and 17 per cent, respectively (see Graph 1).

Graph 1: Proportion that paid for or accessed paid for online news in the Nordic countries 2016–2020 (%)

Graph1 Proportion that paid for or accessed paid for online news in the Nordic countries 2016-2020 (%)
Survey question: Have you paid for online news content, or accessed a paid for online news service in the last year? Base: Total sample in each country.
Source: Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2020 plus previous reports.

Moreover, the growth was larger in Norway than in the other countries, up 8 percentage units from 2019. In Finland and Denmark, paying for online news was up 3 and 2 percentage points, respectively, while in Sweden, payment remained at the same level (see Graph 1).

Broadest news trust in Finland – but decline also hit the Nordics

Overall trust in the news is 38 per cent (all market average). With 56 per cent of the respondents saying they trust most of the news media most of the time, Finland has the broadest trust in the news in the survey (together with Portugal).

Above average are also Denmark and Norway, at 46 and 45 per cent, respectively, while in Sweden, 38 per cent of the respondents claim a broad trust in the news.

However, trust in the news is falling. Overall trust is down 4 percentage points from 42 per cent last year. The fall is visible also in the Nordic countries, most noticeable in Denmark, which is down 11 percentage points from last year (see Graph 2).

Graph 2: Proportion that trust most of the news most of the time in the Nordic countries 2019-2020 (%)
Graph 2. Proportion that trust most of the news most of the time in the Nordic countries 2019-2020 (%)

Survey question: Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement: “I think you can trust most of the news most of the time” (Graph shows “agrees”/“strongly agrees”). Base: Total sample in each country.
Source: Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2020.

Yle News the most trusted Nordic news brand

Public broadcasters remain by and large the most trusted brands, especially in Northern European countries, where they have a strong tradition of independence, states the report. In Finland, 84 per cent of the respondents trust Yle News, placing it on top of the country list – and making Yle the broadest trusted news brand in all of the Nordic countries.

In Norway, NRK News tops the trust list (80%), in Denmark, DR News and TV2 Nyhederna rank first and second (78% and 77%), while in Sweden, the news from SVT and SR carry most trust (68% and 67%). Generally, local and regional newspapers also score high on the Nordic trust lists. (Trust = % scored 5–10 on a 10-point scale.)

News media helped understanding the crisis

As the report comes in the midst of a global health pandemic, the main data collected in January and February is complemented with a data set from April 2020. Overall, the April survey shows an uplift in TV and social media news, and that the news media were considered as having done a good job in helping people understand the crisis (60% agree).

More Nordic key findings

This year, the report includes a special survey, How and why people are paying for online news, taking a more detailed look at online news subscriptions in three countries: Norway, the US and the UK.

There are also two country reports for Finland and Norway, which deeply examine the news consumption in each country (mainly in national languages, see below).


Cover Digital News Report 2020The Digital News Report 2020: Full report online

The Digital News Report 2020: Analysis by country (online)



Cover Digital News Report 2020 country report for FinlandUutismedia verkossa 2020 – Suomen maaraportti (scroll to find press releases in English, Finnish and Swedish, plus the full PDF-report and a video presentation in Finnish)

Tampere University, Finland


Nordmenns bruk av digitale nyheter 2020 (in Norwegian)

A video presentation in Norwegian is available at the website of the Fritt Ord Foundation

University of Bergen, Norway

Danskernes brug af nyhedsmedier 2020 (in Danish)

Roskilde University, Denmark

(The Danish report was published and added 9 Nov.)

[1] Important to note about the survey sample: Because this survey deals with news consumption, anyone indicating they had not consumed any news during the past month was filtered out (this category averaged around 3%). The report is based on an online survey, and as such the results will underrepresent the consumption habits of people who are not online (typically older, less affluent, and with limited formal education). In this sense, it is better to think of results as representative of online populations who use news at least once a month. In a country like Norway, this is almost everyone (98%). Read more: Survey Methodology for the 2020 Digital News Report



Is there a Nordic news media system?

Based on the results from Digital News Report 2019, Kim Christian Schrøder, Mark Blach-Ørsten and Mads Kæmsgaard Eberhol have written the article “Is There a Nordic News Media System? A Descriptive Comparative Analysis of Nordic News Audiences”. It can be read in the latest issue of Nordic Journal of Media Studies, published in June 2020 and exploring "Nordicness" in media studies.

Read Nordic Journal of Media Studies, Volume 2, 2020 (online)