A recent report about news habits has itself made headlines. Contrary to popular thought, young people do follow national and world events. But sadly, many say they’re distrustful, fatigued, and even troubled by what they see.
The Media Insight Project is a collaboration between The Associated Press-National Opinion Research Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute. Results of a 5,975-person survey shows that 79% of young Americans ages 16-40 consume news every day.
About 71% of that group gets its daily news on social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and other outlets.
Despite social media’s grip on the news, 45% of those surveyed still say they get news each day from traditional sources, like television or radio, newspapers, magazines, and news websites (like WORLDteen!).
“They are more engaged in more ways than people give them credit for,” says Michael Bolden, CEO and executive director of the American Press Institute.
The poll also found that about a quarter of those surveyed pay for at least one print or digital news product.
The news topics young people most follow? Celebrities, music and entertainment, and food and cooking lead the list. At least a third follow a range of other issues, including health and fitness, race and social justice, the environment, health care, education, politics, and sports.
However, only 32% of young news consumers report enjoying or talking about the news.
Other findings—such as people who say they feel worse the longer they spend online—point to a weariness with the news, says university journalism professor Tom Rosenstiel.
Christians know that our sovereign God has the authority and might to do whatever He wills. But that’s not all! God is also perfectly wise, just, righteous, and abounding in mercy and grace. Christian news consumers can rest in confidence that God orders the world and everything in it to fulfill His glorious purposes.
About nine of 10 young people call misinformation a news problem. When asked to name those responsible for distortions, young people point equally to social media companies and users, politicians, and the media.
According to the survey, young folks are more worried about “news stories that seem to mostly create conflict rather than help address it” and “media outlets that pass on conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated rumors” than they’re concerned about too much opinion in news stories.
That could be a wake-up call to journalists who seem to stoke conflict by featuring extreme points of view. “There are people who have grown up in this world of political food-fight media,” says Rosenstiel. “This is the only world they know.”
Why? Christians who read the news should take heart in a God who “[declares] the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” (Isaiah 46:10)