New research highlights importance of impartial news

New research has found 87% of adults say impartial news is more important to them personally than coverage that reflects their own points of view. 

The number increases to 91% when people consider the importance of impartial news to wider society.

The research was conducted by Yonder Consulting, on behalf of the BBC.

The research indicates people continue to turn to the BBC, with half of adults using BBC outlets first to find out what is happening in the UK and around the world, ahead of any other news source. 

The BBC is also the go-to provider for younger audiences – with 42% of 18 to 34 year-olds turning to the BBC first, over three times the percentage using Twitter. 

The research, conducted this week, also suggests the BBC is also consistently the most chosen source for impartial news, across a range of current issues including: 

  • The current tensions between Russia and Ukraine – 44% said they are most likely to turn to the BBC for impartial news coverage (next nearest Sky News 11%)
  • The reasons behind the current rise in the cost of living – 41% chose the BBC (next nearest Sky News 10%)
  • The lifting of Covid restrictions – 48% chose the BBC (next nearest Sky News 10%)

Speaking today at an event at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, the BBC’s Director-General Tim Davie said: “We know audiences prize impartiality very highly. They like strong opinions too, but they want the choice.

“Our challenge is not just to set the standard for impartiality, but prove its value to everyone.”

He pointed to the success of Newscast – the BBC’s top performing podcast last year, Ros Atkin’s viral explainers from Outside Source, and the vital role played by BBC local radio as the UK was battered by storms in the last week.

Last October the BBC published a 10-point plan to further raise editorial standards across the organisation.

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