Up to date: how students consume the news

 Alexandra Scicchitano – General Assignment Reporter

Twitter is the way most people get their news nowadays. Southern students, like Brianna Wilson, a junior, media studies major, and Devra Baxter, a senior, international business major, get their news through that social media platform.

“I know it’s not a credible source, but I do go on Twitter,” said Baxter.

As of August 2017, two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans report that they get at least some of their news on social media – with two-in-ten doing so often, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

“Usually if I see something on Twitter, I go to the New York Times to read about,” Wilson said.

Nay-Nay Creag, a freshman, business major, looks at Snapchat and Facebook and follows people on Instagram to get her news.

Facebook remains the most widely used social media platform by a relatively healthy margin; some 68 percent of U.S. adults are now Facebook users. Other than the video-sharing platform YouTube, none of the other sites or apps measured in this survey are used by more than 40 percent of Americans. But, Instagram is nearly there. Thirty-five percent of U.S. adults now say they use this platform, an increase of seven percentage points from the 28 percent who said they did in 2016, stated Pew Research Center.

“I normally watch TV or News 8,” said Lauren Whitney, a freshman, nursing major who also watches Fox News and uses Facebook and Twitter to get her news.

What is more, the decline in television news use occurs across all three types of TV news asked about in the survey – local, network and cable – but is greatest for local television news. As of August 2017, 37 percent of Americans said they often get local TV news, compared with 46 percent in early 2016, stated Pew Research Center.

While many people use social media solely as their way to get news, sometimes people use other means; Wilson is subscribed to The New York Times.

“CNN is really bias, but The Times is less bias,” said Wilson.

“I have CNN, the app, and the MSNBC app,” said Baxter.

As of August, 43 percent of Americans report often getting news online, just 7 percentage points lower than the 50 percent who often get news on television, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in August. This gap between the two news platforms was 19 points in early 2016, which is more than twice as large of a percentage.

The share of Americans who often get news from TV – whether from local TV news, nightly network TV news or cable news – is down from 57 percent in early 2016. At the same time, the portion of Americans often getting news online, either from news websites or apps or social media, grew from 38 percent in early 2016 to 43 percent today, stated the Pew Research Center.

“Twitter has a thing called Twitter moments so that’s where I get my news,” said Baxter.

Creag said she just googles what she wants to look up then clicks on the top story to get her news.

“Google,” said Creag, “is what I usually use.”

Photo Credit: Alexandra Scicchitano




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