Young Readers Trust Traditional Media Over Digital-Only Sources

The study was co-sponsored by...Elite Daily?!


Because everyone does this…

A new research project published yesterday by the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications reached one surprising and one slightly less surprising conclusion:

  • Young people get a majority of their “news” from digital-only sources
  • Those who consume more traditional media also feel more informed

Amusingly, this study was put together by Elite Daily — a completely unreliable clickbait site that you should never read. It involved a random sample of 1,300 post-Millennials (UGH) who, for some unknowable reason, subscribe to that site’s email newsletter.*

Here’s a shocker: no one aged 18-24 watches network news.

primary news source

None of them read newspapers either, but we already knew that.

Here’s the encouraging part: even though young people primarily read news online, the vast majority understand that such sources aren’t exactly reliable:

primary news source 2

So they click Facebook links because it’s easy, but that doesn’t mean they trust what they read. This is particularly interesting following the Arthur W. Page Center study which found that user generated content posted on corporate Facebook pages can, in some ways, have greater power to sway opinions than official statements.

In another interesting bit for those who work in advocacy, researchers asked participants to name the social issue most important to them:


  • Environment/sustainability 24.8 percent
  • Equal pay/equal rights 13.6 percent
  • Poverty 12.8 percent
  • Healthcare access 10.4 percent
  • Marijuana legalization 7.2 percent


  • Equal pay/equal rights 31.1 percent
  • Healthcare access 13.6 percent
  • Environment/sustainability 13.6 percent
  • Poverty 12.3 percent
  • Worldwide hunger 11.9 percent

Now if only we could convince more young people to go out of their way to seek out “traditional” media…

*Statements made by the editors of trade gossip blogs may be less justifiably self-righteous than they appear.