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Survey find that millennials are getting their news from a smartphone or tablet

Survey find that millennials are getting their news from a smartphone or tablet

Millennials may be on the receiving end of a number of "kids these days" biases and assumptions, but a new survey from the University of Missouri has found that young adults are keeping up with current events more than their older counterparts may think. A poll conducted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism found that millennials do indeed consume the news on a regular basis, and a large majority use a smartphone to do so. 

Not so detached
In a national survey of 1,000 adults, the researchers from the RJI found reported that 75 percent of individuals under the age of 44 stated that they frequently use a smartphone to the news. The data also revealed that younger folks were more likely to get news from multiple sources and outlets than their older counterparts. This includes different websites and publications as well as other forms of media, such as television or printed news.

Despite the proliferation of online news outlets, however, the majority of those polled stated that a reputable source was still preferable, regardless of age. More than 80 percent of respondents to the survey stated that a professional journalist was important. Millennials were, however, nearly twice as likely to prefer getting news from people and journalists they already knew.

Size matters
Interestingly enough, the survey found that the size of a person's smartphone was correlated with greater digital news consumption. "Phablets," which the researchers defined as a device between a traditional phone and tablet that measures roughly 5-6 inches across, were used the most for keeping up with current events. Half of users with a "phablet" reported reading the news on a personal device within a week of the survey, but just 23 percent of folks with a smaller smartphone had the same response.

The researchers speculated that larger phones gave news outlets great flexibility in presenting information, interactives and advertisements in a more user-friendly way. And in fact, "phablet" owners were more likely to click on advertisements than were other smartphone users. 

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Social media to the rescue
The survey also revealed that younger adults were much more likely to get their news on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook than were older individuals. Previous surveys from the Pew Research Center have found that - regardless of age - more than 6 in 10 Americans now keep up with current events on a social media site. 

Not only do these sites host their own news platforms, but users often share stories and articles with friends and family. Pew found that Facebook was helpful for exchanging columns and larger pieces of news, while Twitter was most useful when keeping up with live events. Overall, this represents another interesting change in how regular people follow the news.

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