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Many young people rely on social media for news


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

College students might not turn to a newspaper to stay informed about current affairs. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that young people are not actively engaged in the news, as a report published recently by the Pew Research Journalism Project suggests that many young adults get their news exclusively from Facebook.

Sign of the times
The report reiterated some important facts about how American adults use social media. Notably, it revealed that approximately 64 percent of adults in the U.S. use Facebook regularly. This may not necessarily come as a surprise; but one key finding of the report indicated that almost half of Facebook users, particularly young people, exclusively get their news from the social media platform.

While many users do not search actively for news on Facebook, they come across headlines and articles incidentally while using Facebook for other purposes. Interestingly, the report also revealed that the Web site exposes them to stories in which they previously may have had little or no interest.

Shifting trends
According to Jennifer Smola, a collegiate correspondent for USA Today, many college students simply do not have the time or inclination to browse for news across multiple Web sites. Instead, the Facebook news feed has become a news ticker of sorts, providing students and young people with a conveniently accessible source of breaking news.

"I never go to any news sites usually for my news," Christian Jaekle, a junior at Miami University, told the news source. "I get most of my news from Facebook."

The interconnected nature of Facebook also makes it easier for college students to share and even actively participate in news stories that align with their interests. As friends and other connections post news stories to the social media platform, students can comment on and discuss pertinent issues, perpetuating the distribution of breaking stories.

There is little doubt that Facebook is changing the way students and other young adults consume news, whether it be the latest political developments or celebrity gossip. Although the days of the traditional newspaper are far from numbered, the prevalence of social media in student life is changing the way young people learn about and engage with the world around them like never before.

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