A new study says young Americans have a broad definition of news

I expect that many of my students will be living the experiences documented in this study of how young people encounter news; nevertheless, it’s difficult to notice your own environment if you can’t compare it to *different* environments. Because I grew up with the three TV network news shows and the copy of The Washington Post (my dad would pick it up in the driveway on his way out to work and bring it home in his briefcase at the end of the day… I loved the three pages of comics, though while waiting for my siblings to finish the comics I read through the other sections, too). For several generations people watched TV for an entertaining/easy-to-digest overview and breaking news, read newspapers for recent details, and magazines for big-picture context. Today’s journalists, who probably grew up experiencing the news in the manner I just described, are still trying to figure out how to deliver the news in the current media context.

“If I don’t see it on social media, I’m not going to hear it.”

Younger Americans have a broad definition of news that expands beyond the output of traditional news organizations and includes information gleaned from social media and user-generated content, according to a report out Wednesday from the Data & Society Research Institute.

“I think you have to really just listen to everything, and then pick out what you believe and what you think is really truthful,” said a 22-year-old African-American female who participated in the survey.

The report is based on focus groups with 52 people in their teens and 20s that were conducted last summer in Chicago, Charlotte, and Philadelphia. —Nieman Lab