Where Do College Students Get Their News?
It is nearly impossible to not be in the know about what is going on in the news today. It used to be avoidable. You could simply turn it off. Or not subscribe. But now? Now, there are multiple stations entirely dedicated to 24/7 news coverage and constant updates on every form of social media. Newspapers, Television. Magazines, Radio, are all now known as “Traditional Media” which, in the words of Angela Hausman from her 2014 Digitalist article, “relied heavily on the one-to-many paradigm” and is a “one-way communication system.” Whereas now, I can check 10 different sources in 5 minutes, interact with brands and reporters, have alerts when a certain topic I am interested is mentioned online, all while walking to class. I operate on a “trust…but verify” system because I have the luxury of being able to do that with technology today. But considering my grandparents still like reading the morning paper, my relationship with the news seems very different from generations before me. So, I set out to determine where (and why) my peers receive their news. I randomly selected people on my campus (Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia) to interview. Out of the 75 people I surveyed, these were the results.
94% of the students I interviewed said they got their information from Twitter. While some people said they still followed Fox News and CNN, a majority of the Twitter world is #woke to the idea of fake news and they stick to more reliable/non biased news sources such as the Associated Press. From what I gathered, college students love Twitter because when big news breaks, Twitter culture takes over and finds a way to make light of the situation by creating memes around it.
“the Twitter world is #woke“
79% of the students interviewed said they use Facebook for News updates. Students use Facebook to see what their friends and family have to say about the news. The lack of a character limit on Facebook makes it so News sources can get more information out without leaving out details. Trending videos help spread the news to your friends and family, and it is easier to tag people in the news articles you want them to read. Facebook is a great way for people to express their opinions on the news and have conversation with other people on their feeds.
65% of students said that they got the news updates from their app notifications. Whether they get Apple News Notifications, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, or The AP, college students are getting breaking news delivered to their notifications right as they are released. This might be the easiest way to get news out of the three. There is no need to filter out other information like you would have to on social media sites. This is just simply news headlines with links to the sources.
With news being right at your fingertips (literally…who doesn’t have a smartphone these days?), there should be no excuse when it comes to staying informed. The biggest lesson I learned during my interviews is those who answered “they didn’t really look at the news” were actually those that do, whether they knew it or not. There are so many different and creative ways to deliver and retrieve news today that it is sometimes hard to believe that the newspaper was once the primary, if not only, source for news.
Student | Social Media Intern
Summer is a Senior at Christopher Newport University working towards a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies with a double minor in Digital Humanities and Leadership Studies. She is passionate about social media marketing and loves bringing memes into all aspects of her life. As an intern, she is excited to learn more about digital marketing and the use of social media in the professional world.