The future of news consumption can be glimpsed in the habits of younger news consumers today – Medill

EVANSTON, ILL. — The news habits of young consumers differ from previous generations, and understanding these differences will be critical for news outlets to accommodate, according to research conducted by the Knight Lab at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in partnership with FT Strategies and supported by the Google News Initiative.

Through multi-hour interviews with news consumers ages 18 to 25 from the United States, Nigeria and India, the research uncovered the evolving expectations and needs that news producers can address.

“Helping news organizations understand the needs of young news consumers today but also getting a glimpse of future habits is critical for all news organizations,” said Medill Dean Charles Whitaker. “We’re proud to play a role in this exploration of news habits, and are committed to supporting news organizations globally.”

“Using a human-centered design approach to understanding the needs and desires of young news consumers is the best way to anticipate changing demand for news from all users,” said Jeremy Gilbert, Medill Professor and Knight Chair in Digital Media Strategy.

The research is meant to help news organizations take action on identified emerging behaviors like how news consumers simul-tasking, fluidly transition between often unrelated tasks, and a focus on filtering their news through trusted individuals, like family, friends and work colleagues. The project also identified five modes of news consumption and an Ideal News Experience framework, identifying important factors to help news creators close the gap. And the project includes a toolkit meant to help newsrooms understand and ideate news products and strategies using the research.

“More deeply understanding how the next generation is consuming news gives crucial insights into how we might address news consumers’ needs in the future. Embracing change, working together and meeting the moment we’re in will be absolutely crucial to our shared work of helping to build more informed communities everywhere,” said Kristina Anderson, Managing Director of Global News Programs at Google.

“Young people have a complex and evolving relationship with the news. They understand the value that news can play in their lives, but are often disinterested or frustrated with how it’s being delivered to them,” said Joanna Levesque, Managing Director of FT Strategies. “We hope that news producers can use the findings from our research to start building closer relationships with the next generation of news consumers today.”

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