How Do Millennials Get Their News?

Despite reports to the contrary, millennials still find keeping up with the latest updates and news very important. In fact, 85% of millennials surveyed by the Media Insight Project still follow current events from various sources. The result of the study may be seen as a counter-argument to the way people consider millennials to blame for the fall of the newspaper industry; this isn’t necessarily true.

The decline of the newspaper and print industry has mainly been caused by a massive shift in the way people get their news. In the case of millennials, social media is the new hero.

News from Peers

It is true that the majority of millennials now get their news from social media platforms, particularly Twitter and Facebook. These two major platforms are considered the most suitable for sharing and reading news, prompting news outlets to be savvier with their use of social media.

Instead of going to news sites to read the latest headlines, millennials prefer to receive news from their peers. What people within the same social network share matters. Consumption of shared news is high too, with millennials spending an average of 40 to 50 seconds doing a quick pass when they find an interesting headline on their social media streams.

The 50-second pass can quickly turn into a longer read when the news is interesting and well-written. On the other hand, the same pass can become an instant bounce because of factors such as a bad article structure.

The Attention Span

It is believed that millennials have a shorter attention span; 8 seconds, to be exact. News outlets are racing towards optimizing their sites to allow for faster loading and better user experience. While it may be true that the initial attention span is shorter, that isn’t always the case once millennials are exposed to the news.

This generation is more affected by clickbait and bombastic titles. They turn away very quickly the moment they realize there is a lack of substance in the news they read. At the same time, millennials often rely on titles and short descriptions to capture news quickly, resulting in a lot of misunderstandings due to the excessive use of clickbait by media outlets.

A Shift to Video recently discovered a sharp increase in video-based news consumption among millennials. The site has been using social media to reach a new audience base and they are now making the shift to video news for this reason.

A lot of media outlets are doing the same too. Vice regularly publishes short, two-minute videos on Twitter and Facebook to better deliver important topics. CNN and other news channels are making summaries of their reports to better fit the constraints of social media. More importantly, the shift is working.

The New York Times, on the other hand, relies on immersive user experience and better site technology to attract a younger audience. Their recent big news reports are presented in a more interactive way, and it has been effective in retaining the audience’s attention for longer.

So, how do millennials get their news? They get them from social media, often from a more diverse set of sources.


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