Young people use a variety of strategies for verifying news and put little trust in traditional legacy journalism outlets, according to a new study by Data & Society and the Knight Foundation. The study is titled How Youth Navigate the News Landscape, and is based on analysis of interviews conducted with 6 focus groups with 52 teens and young adults from 3 U.S. cities. The authors write, “In an age of smartphones and social media, young people don’t follow the news as much as it follows them.” This leads them to think of the news industries as somewhat inevitable parts of their everyday lives that, due to the pervasiveness of the advertising that supports news, will permeate all aspects of their lives.
The study found that many of those interviewed were aware of the need to carefully assess the news that did come their way, and were concerned about bias in the news they read.
As we found in our study of youth and news, all of this meant that young people are defining news in a way that includes but also extends beyond the journalistic outlets that have long been the venue for information about current events.
Mary Madden, Amanda Lenhart and Claire Fountaine authored the study.