(Image: Tom Red/Private Media)

Here’s the news about the news: for Australia, things could be worse. Globally, things already are. Looks like we’re back to the pre-COVID trends -- with our audience heading down in interest, trust and consumption.

The all-too-brief COVID-driven bump has gone bust, according to the Reuters Institute of Journalism's annual digital news report based on its survey of about 2000 news consumers in 46 countries, including Australia.

Worse, it looks like the bigger the news -- the more overwhelming it seems -- the greater the tendency to look the other way. A survey of five countries in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine finds that even news consumers are actively trying to avoid news. The trend is particularly apparent in Poland, which borders Ukraine, and Germany.