Editor’s note: This new study is the kind of work the recently announced AP/RJI partnership will produce and surface. One of the goals of the AP/RJI partnership is to push research beyond academia to the profession.

Millennials consume news and information in strikingly different ways than previous generations, and their paths to discovery are more nuanced and varied than some may have imagined, according to the new study by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Among the study’s findings:

  • Millennials acquire news for many reasons, which include a fairly even mix of civic motivations (74 percent), problem-solving needs (63 percent), and social factors (67 percent) such as talking about it with friends.
  • Facebook has become a nearly ubiquitous part of digital Millennial life. On 24 separate news and information topics probed, Facebook was the No. 1 gateway to learn about 13 of those, and the second-most cited gateway for seven others.
  • When Millennials want to dig deeper on a subject, search is the dominant method cited by 57 percent (and it is the one cited most often as useful), followed by news sites (23 percent). Only 7 percent cite checking Facebook to learn more.
  • And when Millennials do dig deeper, the most important qualities that make a destination useful are that they know the source well (57 percent) and that this digital source is transparent and rich with references and links (52 percent).
  • The vast majority of Millennials (86 percent) have changed their behavior online, mostly to control what people know about them. Fifty-two percent have changed their privacy settings, while 37 percent say they are now more likely to remove information or photos of themselves that are embarrassing or immature.

Read the report and additional findings here.



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