During the pandemic, the public’s need for information is larger than ever before. At the same time, so much information is being spread, that the WHO even speaks of an infodemic. The abundance of information and wide selection of news media can lead to the (temporary) avoidance of (certain) news media or reporting. Does this also apply to the COVID-19 crisis? Do people avoid the news more often? The objective of this research is to determine how the news consumption during the first COVID-19 wave went. We notice that the public showed a large need for information at the beginning of the pandemic. Not only did they consume news more often than before (61%), they also used different news resources (51%). At the same time, we see that a large group (53%) indicated that they would distance themselves or take a break from news about COVID-19. As they reduced their consumption further into the crisis, this need for a break also decreased (to 44% in June). We do see, however, that as the crisis went on, more people avoided the news altogether. The main reason for this is that people felt they were overloaded with information (59%).
The results were published in the scientific magazine Digital Journalism