While it might seem young adults are overly involved in social networks, research shows they use these technologies in part to keep up with worldly news.
A recent study by the Media Insight Project said the millennial generation is anything but “newsless,” passive, or uninterested in civic affairs.
Despite their lower rates of reading newspapers or watching television news, 69 per cent of millennials get news daily, and 85 per cent keep up with news that is important to them, according to the study by the Project, which is an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The report noted millennials consume news in strikingly different ways than previous generations and their paths to discovery are more varied than some might think.
Kalene Morgan, communications professor at Humber College, said having news available to consume on social media is the best way to reach students.
“When I look around the lobby here in F building I don’t see students reading the newspaper, but I do see them on their phones and I do see them on websites,” she said.
Morgan said she doesn’t believe millennials are uninformed just because they don’t read newspapers or watch television news.
“I just think that they’re consuming news in a different way,” she said.
Jeffrey Dvorkin, a Canadian-American journalist and professor at University of Toronto Scarborough, said millennials almost exclusively use social networks to get news.
“They don’t watch TV, they don’t listen to the radio, they don’t get the ink on their fingers reading their newspapers but they do keep up with the news,” he said.
Dvorkin believes there are benefits from discovering news this way, including immediacy and consumer participation.
“The information is shared and as it is shared people express their opinions on the events so there is much more involvement,” he said.
Morgan said another benefit for students getting news through social media is convenience because they’re already on their phones and social media all the time.
“So it’s news when we want it, from whom we want it and we can engage as little or not as we want,” she said.
Morgan said a popular way millennials get their news on social media is through Twitter because a lot of journalists are putting their stories on the social network.
Tyler Thomson, a 24-year-old student from Niagara College, said he goes to Twitter often to get his daily dosage of news.
“There’s always breaking news on my Twitter feed and it keeps me very informed with what’s going on in the world around me,” he said.
Thomson said he might not read the newspaper or watch the nightly news but he definitely keeps up with the news through social media.
Dvorik said other popular places to get news are social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
“But I think Twitter seems to be the predominant vehicle of the moment,” he said.
“News and information are woven into an often continuous but mindful way that millennials connect to the world generally, which mixes news with social connection, problem solving, social action, and entertainment,” the Media Insight Project report said.
Dvorkin said if the study is are driven to seek it out more.
The study consisted of a survey that was compiled from telephone samples and an online questionnaire and reached 1,046 millennials nationwide between the ages of 18 and 34.
The margin of error was plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
To learn more about the study visit: http://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/millennials-news/