Disproving the ‘newsless’ myth

How millennials get their news.

America's first digital generation consume news in different ways than previous generations. Credit: Creative Commons
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America’s first digital generation has been criticized for being ‘newsless.‘ Most concerns suggest that adults age 18 to 34  do not visit news sites, read print newspapers, watch television news, or seek out the news. A study conducted by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, proves these critiques otherwise.

Eighty-five percent of the respondents from the study said that “keeping up with the news is at least somewhat important to them,” while 69 percent added that they consume news daily.

With America’s social media-obsessed president, millennials are getting more of their news consumption from social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and even Snapchat. In 2017, more than two-thirds of American adults get at least some of their news on social media, according to data released by the Pew Research Center.

Overall, Facebook dominates all other social media sites with 45 percent of American adults saying they use the site as a source of news. Millennials are reported to overwhelming use Snapchat for news as well, while Instagram comes in second.

Social media news user profiles. Credit: Pew Research Center

While social platforms may be a place for people to find news, the motivations for seeking news varies within millennials. For most millennials, the way they consume news is a blend of actively seeking out information and bumping into it as they do other things throughout their day online.

The Media Insight Project asked their respondents to choose which comes closer to their behavior on a typical day. Sixty percent of millennials said that they mostly bump into news and information as they do other things, while 39 percent said they actively seek out news and information.

It shouldn’t come as a shock that millennials are also turning to social media for “hard news.” Forty-five percent of millennials said that they regularly follow five or more “hard news” topics, according to the Media Insight Project’s study. President Trump’s daily tweets are often provocative, policy-focused and controversial, allowing for constant coverage.

How Millennials get news

Percent of Millennials who…
Say keeping up with the news is at least somewhat important to them 85%
Get news daily 69%
Regularly follow five or more “hard news” topics 45%
Usually see diverse opinions through social media 86%
Pay for at least one news-specific service, app, or digital subscription 40%

Credit: Media Insight Project

Beltway News took to the streets to ask Washingtonian millennials where they get their news from in order to see if this research stands correct.

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