Generational fractures are evident in the ways we seek entertainment, the figures we consider icons, the methods by which we travel, and in our preferred methods of communication. While millennials might roll their eyes at their elders’ failure to appreciate avocado toast or their misunderstanding of current socio-economic stressors, gen xers likely don’t understand millennials’ constant selfie-taking or job-hopping.
Though these fractures appear when analyzing a wide array of behaviors, there is no significant gap between the amount of news different generations consume or how attentive each generation is to news stories. According to the American Press Institute, news consumption is a habit that all age groups perform daily, and older adults are only slightly more likely than their younger counterparts to say that they enjoy keeping up with the news.
However, there is a divide in the methods by which each generation receives their news, as indicated by data published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. According to the data, which was released in June 2017, and based on a survey of more than 70,000 news consumers across 36 countries, most individuals aged 34 and younger consider social media and the internet as their primary sources of news, while those aged 45 and older keep up with breaking stories primarily through television and print media. Radio was not considered a primary news source for a significant portion of any age group.
What does this data mean for the news industry? For starters, the demise of print media is likely to continue as more individuals jump off that platform in favor of television and the web. Additionally, continued news consumption on social media and self-selected online platforms could increase exposure to so-called “echo chambers” and further polarize all consumers of news.