Commentary

Millennials' And Teens' Top 20 News Sources

At this point, less than one in ten 13-33-year-olds says they are buying newspapers each month, and only 4% are paying for online news site access—but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in the news. Our monthly survey revealed that 69% of 13-33-year-olds follow the news some or all of the time—and the top reason they do is because they like to be informed and in the know.

In fact, there seems to be somewhat of a “news rush” to provide young consumers with their breaking headlines and news stories. Vice reports that their fastest-growing division is news, and the media brand has struck gold with younger audiences by filling the “big white space” that co-founder Shane Smith says was created by the “perception that Gen Y didn’t really care about news, which is obviously not true.” Startups like Mic and Vox are creating more competition in the digital news space, using apps and even chatbots to deliver the news to Millennials and teens across the platforms they’re spending time on.

Clearly, the competition to be Millennials and teens’ news source is cutthroat—and complicated by the fact that they don’t want to pay anyone for news. Social media has become the main place they stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the world, acting as a news source curator that allows them to passively see trending news content without putting in much effort, clicking the news links that seem most interesting as they browse through other content.

But they still have sources that they rely on to keep informed, and we found out what they are. We asked 1,000 13-33-year-olds to tell us the one source (specific site, newspaper, show, app, etc.) that they turn to for news the most. Here are their top 20 current go-to sources: 

  1. CNN
  2. Local news channel / site / app
  3. Facebook
  4. Fox
  5. The New York Times
  6. Twitter
  7. NPR
  8. Google News
  9. BuzzFeed
  10. BBC
  11. Yahoo
  12. Reddit
  13. NBC
  14. ABC
  15. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  16. Apple news app
  17. Huffington Post
  18. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
  19. News app
  20. Tumblr / The Washington Post

CNN was the most-mentioned news source for 13-33-year-olds overall. One important note here: for all the cable news sources on the list, a combination of the network’s channel, site, and app was usually mentioned. Young consumers are going to a diverse range of places to get their news, with 67% keeping up on their phones regularly, 63% on their computers regularly, and 53% on TV regularly. Any source needs to be living across platforms for them. 

Some of the top go-to news sources mentioned might be influenced by young consumers' preference for unbiased news, which they have a hard time finding. Our survey found that 60% of 13-33-year-olds mostly get news from sources that don't have a particular point of view, versus 40% who say they mostly get news from sources that share their points of view. They're hyper-aware of various sources' biases, and resources like Google News, the Apple news app, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit allow them to see the range of POVs that many sources curated together provide. One respondent explained, "The trick isn't to rely on one site, everyone spins a story; you have to read several sites' take on the same story, and catch the common threads."

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