Despite overall news consumption dropping, college students are still receiving and paying attention to the news they deem important.
To most of them, reading a daily newspaper or watching a television broadcast is an outdated concept. The rise of digital platforms and mobile devices has brought about the age of instant information, delivered through online channels and networks. And, perhaps surprisingly, through good old word-of-mouth: a Project Information Literacy survey found that 93% of respondents obtained news from discussions with their peers.
Classrooms are also another important source of news, with a recent study showing that 7 in 10 students had learned of news stories in the past week from their professors; specifically those students pursuing a degree in the humanities, arts, social sciences and business administration.
Trust in the traditional news media is dwindling, though it is not at an all-time low, according to Gallup. In a society where a plethora of political talk shows, evening shows and podcasts exist, the socialness of news is not apparent.
Receiving news from peers is another way the typical college student consumes news. For example, Andrew Callaghan of Channel 5 News on YouTube is a 25-year-old reporter that provides a different option for students to get their news, according to the Nieman Lab. Instead of breaking stories as a typical journalist does, Callaghan covers reactions to the events with the intent to humanize people.
More and more people are turning to social media and other forms of digital media to get their news with Pew Research reporting that 8 out of 10 Americans get their news from some sort of digital device. In America specifically, 74% of 13-39 year-olds receive their information from their phone. However, only 23% of this demographic use an actual news app — the overwhelming expectation is that they will find the news on the platforms they already spend time on. Furthermore, they would rather consume the news in a video format rather than taking the time to read it.
In addition to social media, students consume news through podcasts. One in 3 adults ages 18-29 use podcasts sometimes to get their news. Furthermore, those that have completed a college degree are more likely to use podcasts to receive their news. However, according to Study Breaks, there are some podcasts students prefer to listen to. NPR News Now, Up First (also by NPR), and The Daily are three podcasts that students engage with to get their news.
With most 18-25 year-olds looking toward social media for their news according to Statista, it is obvious that students are not against learning about the news. Rather, the current student is so inundated with different news alerts, systems, opinions, and information that it can overwhelming.
Though news companies like Fox News, National Public Radio, or the Wall Street Journal might not be the first places students turn to for news or information, that does not mean that they are not getting news or information. News has always been a social event with people discussing the headlines, families sitting down together to watch the five o’clock news, and more recently, reposting a news update on their Instagram story.
The news landscape is changing, but that merely reflects that the way news is consumed is changing — not that the current generation does not care about news.
Charlotte McKinley attends Biola University and double majors in journalism and public relations. She has been published in various newspapers such as the Spokesman Review, College Fix, and Center Square. After graduation, she aims to work in the sports sector, specifically following mixed martial arts.