America’s younger generations seem to represent an enigma in their relationship with the news media.
On one hand, roughly 80% of those between 16 and 40 years old say they consume news on a daily basis. On the other hand, millennial and Generation Z audiences are notoriously skeptical of local and national news outlets.
A recent Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that only 23% of respondents in the younger generations expressed a positive opinion of news coverage overall, though a slightly higher percentage said they trust local sources.
Despite that distrust, Associated Press-NORC pollsters reported that a majority of teens and young adults spend between two and eight hours per day online. About 79% of this group indicated that they keep up with the news each day.
Although Americans under 40 are still tuning in to the news, a decreasing number of them are actually enjoying the experience. More than half of those surveyed said that misinformation has become a “major problem,” compared to just 12% who indicated that it was not a problem at all.
When the same generations were asked seven years ago whether they enjoyed consuming news, more than half of all respondents said they did. As of the most recent survey, less than one-third said the same.
A similar decline was found over the same period when respondents were asked whether they enjoyed discussing news stories with others.
Of course, millennial and Generation Z news consumers are not alone in their growing distrust of mainstream news sources. Earlier this year, Gallup conducted its annual survey to gauge public trust in American institutions.
Pollsters found that the TV news media was the second-least trusted of all institutions listed, with only Congress receiving a lower score.
Only 8 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats trust the news they see on TV as Gallup’s annual polling of major US institutions reveals that Americans’ trust in mainstream media is at its lowest rate in the last four decades.
We take a look at the trend: pic.twitter.com/luwPxmdesI
— TRT World (@trtworld) July 24, 2022
Broken down by political affiliation, it was clear that Republicans are more skeptical of news sources than Democrats. While 35% of Democrats said they had significant confidence in print media, only 5% of GOP respondents said the same. Those numbers were 20% and 8%, respectively, when asked about confidence in television news coverage.
One notable detail that emerged from the survey of younger generations was that nearly half of all respondents said they had limited familiarity with opinion articles.