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How Do Young Adults Find Their Current News Stories?

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current news storiesHave you ever wondered where young adults find their current news stories so that they can keep up on current events? Many young adults have chosen online resources and some still use offline resources such as the TV or radio.

In this day in age it is really important for young adults to understand that there is a lot going on in the world. Through my research I’d like to share how young adults find news both online and offline.

Where are young adults finding their current news stories?

Those who find their current news stories online do so through the following resources. Let’s turn to statistics for a moment, in a report by Pew Research Center, 71% of those 18-29 cite the internet as a main news source, more than the percentage that cites television (55%). So let’s dive more into finding out where they are getting their news.

  • Social media – It is a well known fact that social media is really popular with young adults. Social media is a great source for finding current news stories because news is shared almost as soon as its posted by trusted news sources. Teens can visit these source’s social media profiles and keep up with breaking news. 
  • Email – Young adults are also finding out what’s going on in the world through email. With convenient features like Google Alerts any breaking news, updates and ongoing investigations can be delivered right to their inbox. 
  • Instant Notification – Through today’s technology you can get instant messages or chat from a variety of online websites. Through peer to peer correspondence on sites like Skype, young adults can find out the latest news on their tablet, mobile phone or computer.

Another resource is the TV and the young adults have chosen the following ways.

  • Traditional – Although less popular, the traditional news show is still a source for young adults to get current news stories. This seems to have a direct correlation to the fact that these news programs have websites and social profiles. I look deeper into this in the next point. 
  • Integrated w/online – Traditional news shows have started using hashtags, Facebook contests and other online techniques to keep the interest of the public and this includes teens. When they integrate their shows with their online presence it allows for teens to be able to get the news through mobile technology which is really popular right now. 
  • Breaking News – As big events happen breaking news stories will interrupt scheduled programming. There are many shows that are popular with young adults so while they are watching they are alerted to these stories. This doesn’t occur often but it falls in line with traditional news shows as a reliable source for the news. 

Some even turn to their peers for current news stories with…

  • Ongoing Discussion – There are many young adults who are very conscious of what’s going on in the world today. Things that affect them and stories that they feel strongly about are talked about among their friends. These ongoing discussions provide new insights, information sharing and a viral spread of news stories. 
  • Trust – Young adults tend to look at their friends as reliable sources for information. They trust that the current news a friend tells them is accurate. This is why stories go viral so quickly among teens. 
  • In-Crowd – Within all social circles there are people who are relied upon for current news stories. Among young adults even if there isn’t a friendship they listen to these types of people for up-to-date news. 

What key factors are they using to find their news?

current news storiesThere are many factors that come into play when young adults search for news. Here are a few key factors:

  •  Current events – With so much going on in the world and with an significant increase of violence in schools young adults tend to pay attention based on these three factors: 

    Affects Daily Life: Things that might change their lives for the better or worse. For example, a weather story that warns of a snow storm.

    Fear: Stories that can could potentially cause them harm, has caused someone in their age group harm or the threat of harm. For example, a local school shooting.

    Can Affect Life: Stories that may not be directly related to them or about their age group but that is still a source of worry. For example, talks of layoffs at a local factory where their parents work.

  •  Celebs – Everyone has a celebrity that they are really interested in. This is especially true for teens. Here are the key factors that move them: 

    Fans: Fiercely loyal young adults make the best fans. They make sure to keep up with all of the latest news concerning celebs that they are most interested in.

    New & What’s Hot: With ever changing interests teens tend to love to be on top of who’s popular. Even if they aren’t fans of a celeb, if that celebrity is doing something news-worthy then they want to know about it. 

    Death: A celebrity’s death is one of the biggest news story among fans and non-fans. As with the recent passing of Paul Walker, known for the Fast & Furious movies, this sad event goes viral almost as soon as it happens.

  •  Peers – Young adults look to their friends and their peers who are most popular for information. Current news stories spread among them through these key factors: 

    What’s Being Talked About: Popular stories about world events, local events and tragedy flow from teen to teen on a daily basis. Their unique views are generally shared among each other so conversations flow much easier. 

    Who’s Being Talked About: Young adults love to share news about celebs and scandalous politicians. We see examples of this everyday, especially on social media.

    Common interest: Stories that surround celebs, social issues or a         ny subject that is an interest of a group of teens will be shared. The information shared when their is a common interest is trusted to be accurate because of the shared interest. 

Why is it important to young adults to find their news online?

Although there are different sources for news research has shown that online news sources are the most popular. Here are some of the reasons this is important:

  • Up-to-date - As things are happening in the news they get updated online. Here are some other supporting facts:

    Frequency: News sources are able to post more frequently online so if they receive minute by minute updates they are able to quickly amend what was previously posted. 

    Multiple Sources: Teens can access different trusted sites for news online. This allows them to get various angles and more accurate information.

    In Their Feeds: Teens don’t have to work hard to get current news stories online. They can get their news directly in their social media feeds, which is not only convenient but it’s more likely to be paid attention to. 

  • Preferred Method – Research shows that searching online is the preferred method for young adults to get the news. Here are some of the reasons why:

    Time Spent: Young adults spend more time online than they do anything else. Whether they’re chatting, doing homework or on their social profiles this is all done online. 

    Social Media: Social media is vastly popular among them so it’s a part of their routine to search through their feeds for what’s going on in the world. They can get news in many different forms including pictures and video. 

    Peers: Online sharing of news stories are made easy peer to peer this way. They can see what their friends are reading and talking about while responding instantly to it. 

  •  Easy Access – Technology has evolved to the point that no matter where you are in the world or what you are doing you can get current news stories. Here are some of the most popular forms:

    Tablets: These wireless devices enable young adults to surf the web, post to social media and take pictures. With a larger amount of memory than a mobile phone young adults can quickly access the web with limited interference. 

    Phones: Today’s mobile phones are almost exactly like a computer or tablet. With a vast majority of teens owning a mobile phone access to the internet is instantaneous. 

    Computers/Laptops: There are many more homes that have a computer or laptop than even just a year ago. As research shows teens spend more time online and having access through a home computer or laptop means that news is more likely to be seen by this group.

Our young people have to stay informed about what’s going on in the world today. They are our future leaders, doctors, lawyers and business people. We have to continue to stress to them that it’s important for them to stay on top of current news stories so that they stay informed of the world around them. For this is how they will gain knowledge of the world to one day be the ones running it.