June 6, 2016 by
Photo: Girl waiting for the train by Toshihiro Gamo on Flickr.
Natalie “Talia” Stroud is an associate professor of communication studies, assistant director of research at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, and director of the Engaging News Project at the University of Texas at Austin.
Many findings about the political and news habits of women and young people are depressing. Women know less about politics and follow political news less frequently than men. Young people are less politically engaged and less likely to consume news than their older counterparts.
Given these findings, the recent “Mobile-First News” report from Knight Foundation and Nielsen offers a different narrative. The study reveals that women and young people are more likely than their demographic opposites to engage with news via social media on mobile devices.
Turning to social media apps for news seems a natural fit for young people. The Engaging News Project, an initiative to research democratically beneficial and commercially viable strategies for improving digital news, recently hosted a workshop where part of the day was dedicated to having digital news leaders talk with millennials from the University of Texas at Austin. Many of the students noted that convenience influenced their news habits and that social media represented an easy way to get news and information. News transmitted through social media seamlessly fits with existing habits among younger, mobile-savvy audiences.