People can be roughly divided into those who rely on news media for current information, and those who avoid it, Stephanie Edgerly, of Northwestern University, writes. Edgerly interviewed 21 young American adults over where they would search information in six, hypothetical situations.
Ten of the interviewees described news media centric approaches, many even naming specific news organisations and news features on the topic. Nine of them were born to college-educated parents. Conversely, 11 participants planned to use other sources, such as Google, government websites, and friends and family. Out this group most (six) were born to parents without college education.
Interestingly, both groups described social media as a viable news information source. The groups’ ways of utilizing social media were still different: those in the news media reliant group described deliberately altering their social media feeds to provide news, for example by following certain users and “purging” others. The other group made no conscious effort to enhance their news intake on social media and instead relied on the news to “find them”, Edgerly discovered.
The article “Seeking Out and Avoiding the News Media” was published by the journal Mass Communication and Society. It is available online (abstract free).
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