Home » MBJ FEATURE » TODD SMITH — The four types of young news consumers

TODD SMITH — The four types of young news consumers


There’s very interesting news out about how people under age 35 are consuming news.

It’s all in the palm of their hands – in their phones, more specifically! Research conducted recently by consulting firm Flamingo for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism revealed some insightful trends.

The study complements Reuter’s previously released qualitative study, the 2019 Digital News Report, which looked broadly at news habits of the next generation.

This research focused deeply on a small group: Flamingo worked with 20 people between the ages of 18 and 35, half in the U.S. and half in the UK. It tracking their smartphone behavior for two weeks, having them complete digital diaries about their offline news usage, and then following up with 90-minute in-home interviews and 60-minute “friendship trios,” which allowed for the exploration of the social side of news in a group setting.

On those 20 young people’s phones, Instagram was the primary app: Every one of the 20 had it and spent the most time on it daily. News apps, by comparison, received much less usage. Apple News is pre-installed on iPhones, which helps account for its relative prominence here — but “no news app (with the exception of Reddit) was within the top 25 apps used by respondents. For two of the four individuals who had the BBC news app on their phone during the two-week tracking period; the app represented less than 1 percent of usage time for both.”

The researchers identified four types of young news consumer:

  1. Heritage News Consumers “make a concerted effort to at least consume some of the same traditional news brands that they grew up seeing,” though they don’t always have time to consume news.
  2. Passive News Absorbers – People in this group are just not interested enough to have any sort of regular relationship with news brands. Instead, they remain informed collectively from their online and offline experiences, but dedicate little to no time to actively engaging with the news. When something piques their interest, they search for it directly and care less about the brand they choose. Due to lack of proactive use of their newsfeeds, they are most at risk of falling into an echo-chamber cycle.
  1. Dedicated News Devotees have the highest engagement with news apps; they schedule time through the day to read news, and “have a routine, habitual appointment with their primary news brand.”
  1. Proactive News Consumers focus on curating their feeds and may “snack” across news brands rather than being devoted to any one brand in particular. “Their attitude is they are the curators.”

The researchers also identified four “key news moments” for younger audiences. Think of these as updated versions of the evening news: “While a classic news moment might be seen as setting time aside to read the paper or watch the 10 p.m. news, unsurprisingly the news moments for this audience are not as one-dimensional. They range from the more often direct and targeted to a news brand, to the more indirect and incidental.” They are:

  1. Dedicated: “This moment is about dedicating time to the news, as you might a novel or TV series.” It’s a more introspective and focused form of news consumption, but it also isn’t common. “I suppose my favorite way of consuming news is my weekend treat of buying the Guardian in print every now and then,” said Anna, a UK resident in the 21- to 24-year-old age range.
  1. Updated: Getting important news updates that you need, efficiently; think timesaving briefings and summaries. (Not to be confused with notifications.)
  1. Time-Filler: “Not about the news per se; something to do or to amuse, often while doing something else on a third party platform or in the real world.” This happens constantly throughout the day, but news providers are competing with other sources for attention.
  2. Intercepted: News provided via a notification, from an app, aggregator, or social media, interrupting whatever someone else was doing.

Check out the full report at: https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/risj-review/mainstream-media-need-make-news-more-accessible-relevant-and-entertaining-attract-next.

NFL Targets Young Through TikTok App

The NFL and TikTok have inked a multiyear partnership for the league’s 100th season.

The official NFL TikTok account will share behind-the-scenes footage and highlight reels, and of course, memes (there’s already a “when they hold the door but you’re kinda far away” skit up). The account is part of a strategy to court a younger demographic that’s watching increasingly less football, as well as to open up the sport to a global audience through the platform’s reach. CNBC reports that the partnership is a two-year deal.

TikTok will also promote NFL content on the app, through hashtag challenges. The first was a #WeReady hashtag challenge, that asked TikTok users to create videos showing which teams they’re cheering for. The hashtag challenge will feature various TikTok creators and NFL clubs during the campaign. TikTok had a presence at the Thursday NFL kickoff game in Chicago’s Soldier Field, and attendees created NFL-themed TikTok videos.

The NFL isn’t the first sports organization to partner with TikTok; Wimbledon and the NBA have both worked with the platform to promote their games. TikTok crossed the one-year mark of its U.S. debut last month, and partnerships with major brands have helped legitimize the platform and bring in more revenue.

Facebook, Instagram Launch Features to Cure Vaccine Disinformation

Facebook and Instagram are rolling out features to combat the spread of anti-vaccine misinformation.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, announced recently that educational pop-up windows will appear on the social media platforms when a user searches for vaccine-related content, visits vaccine-related Facebook groups and pages, or taps a vaccine-related hashtag on Instagram.

If the user is based in the United States, the pop-up window will connect the user to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for credible information on vaccines. If the user is outside of the United States, it will connect them to the World Health Organization.

This launch comes at the same time a measles outbreak has hit the United States, reaching more than 1,200 confirmed cases across 31 states since the beginning of the year. Outbreaks have also spread around the world, resulting in four European countries losing their measles-free status.

Public health experts have pointed to anti-vaccination content online as playing a major role in fewer people getting vaccinated against certain diseases, resulting in outbreaks of measles and other illnesses.

The CDC praised Facebook’s latest move to stop misinformation from circulating on its platform.

“We know that parents often turn to social media to access health information and connect with other parents, and it can be difficult to determine what is accurate and who the credible sources of information are,” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund told CNN.

Recently, Pinterest announced that searches for “measles,” “vaccine safety” and other vaccine-related content would only return results from public health organizations. The company said the new search experience is available now in English on its website and mobile apps.

Earlier this year, Amazon removed anti-vaccine documentaries from its Amazon Prime Video streaming service and YouTube pulled ads from appearing on videos that promote anti-vaccine content.

Credible, clear communications like these efforts from social media platforms certainly could be the cure for the common bout of disinformation!

Silenced Mic: Cokie Roberts Was a Pioneering Journalist

Cokie Roberts – the legendary broadcast journalist known for her career with ABC News and NPR – died on Tuesday at age 75 after a long battle with breast cancer.

Roberts began her career at CBS, then moved to NPR in 1978, where she covered politics and life on Capitol Hill. She joined ABC in 1988. Her three decades at the network included anchoring, with Sam Donaldson, the Sunday morning news program “This Week” from 1996 to 2002.

Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, remembered the journalist as a talented, tough and fair reporter.

“We respected her drive and appreciated her humor,” the former president told The Wall Street Journal. “She became a friend.”

Former President Barack Obama said Roberts was a role model for women in a season when the journalism profession was still dominated by men, and was a constant over 40 years of a shifting media landscape and changing world.

“She will be missed, and we send our condolences to her family,” Obama told the WSJ.

Roberts co-wrote a political column with her husband for many years, and penned many books, focusing on the role of women in history. She wrote two with her husband, one about interfaith families and “From This Day Forward,” an account of their marriage.

Somewhere beyond the clouds she will continue to break barriers, deliver scoops and pound out objective prose with a fierce determination that will illuminate the minds of angels.

» TODD SMITH is co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Deane | Smith, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm – based in Nashville, Tenn. – is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, follow him @spinsurgeon and like the ageny on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deanesmithpartners, and join us on LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/company/deane-smith-&-partners.


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