How Millennials Get Their News

By Alexandra Brown on February 12, 2015

As a result of the technological advances that have been introduced within the past decade or two, it is a lot of peoples’ opinion that the field of journalism as we know it is declining.

The word journalism here is usually referring to the reporting of news, which is then printed into a newspaper to which people subscribe and get their news from on a daily basis.

Because of new advances like social media, smartphones and tablets, people have been able to get their news electronically, and the desire of having subscriptions to actual, tangible newspapers has since decreased because of this.

Hopefully, this is not to say that all newspapers will be going out of business altogether in the near future. Because of new technology platforms, newspapers have been able to move online, and be more readily accessible to people who are on the go.

Millennials specifically seem to have chosen to access their news via these online platforms, differing from how some people of earlier generations have, and still do, access their news: print copies.

Here are 4 ways millennials get their news.

1. Social Media 

According to a Ypulse study, 68 percent of 14 to 30-year-olds choose social media sites like Facebook and Twitter first as news sources.

Various forms of social media have grown in popularity among young age groups, including millennials, within the past few years. The attraction lies in these media having the ability to connect everyone to each other, and offer a sense of instant gratification that was never before available.

These forms of social media include Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to name a few. On each of these platforms, people are linked to each other. Whether they “friend” each other on Facebook, or “follow” each other on Twitter or Tumblr, people are forming digital relationships with each other.

In addition to using these social media to connect, they can be, and are increasingly being used by millennials and those of younger age groups to attain news. With Facebook, an account holder is able to “like” certain groups/organizations/public figures, and then as a result view whatever they share as they scroll through their newsfeed.

This could include live updates from news stations or news organizations. Facebook also has recently added the feature of a “Trending Topics” sidebar on the right hand side, where national, or global trending topics are available to read about.

With Twitter, millennials can follow any public figure, organization, or group that has an account, and as a result can subscribe to their posts. Many millennials choose to follow cable news organizations like MSNBC, CNN or FOX News, or even various newspapers like The New York Times, or local newspapers relevant to them.

Tumblr has the same sort of effect that Twitter does. Users are able to follow whoever has an account, and receive their news that way.

These social media sites are available as free applications on smartphones, tablets and other handheld devices, and are therefore readily available to millennials who want their news on the go.

2. Satirical News Shows 

Another popular way millennials get their news is from satirical news shows, like “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, or “The Colbert Report,” which are both shown on Comedy Central.

“The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart doubles as a late-night talk show/satire television program where its host, Jon Stewart, comments on happenings in current events and popular culture with a satirical tone, and with an overall left-wing political viewpoint.

“The Colbert Report” has the same effect, run by host Stephen Colbert, and comments on current events, as well as includes interviews with relevant public figures.

A lot of college students rely on these shows for their news, and don’t actually watch the real news, which has stirred debate and controversy among right-wing conservatives. The argument against this is that viewers are not getting the full story, and just one side.

3. News Blogging Sites 

News blogging sites like BuzzFeed and Vox are also very popular among millennials, and they can also be followed via Twitter. BuzzFeed is attractive to millennials because of the instant gratification aspect. The site’s style mostly utilizes lists to comment on popular culture and current events.

Vox.com is a more credible blogging news site offering articles about popular culture, politics, current events, and videos as well.

4. Digital Newspaper Subscriptions 

The last major way millennials get their news is from online newspaper subscriptions. Prominent newspapers like The New York Times have made their content online restricted to a certain amount of articles, where the user must then subscribe to a digital account.

Subscriptions like these are often discounted, or even free for college students at certain universities, if they use their university email addresses when registering. For this reason, these subscriptions play a minor, but notable part in the way millennials receive their news.

Hi! I'm Alexandra Brown, a current senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am a News-Editorial Journalism major, and am also working toward a Spanish minor. I love writing, especially about pop-culture, so I hope I can entertain you!

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