US Teens Favor TV and Internet For News

26 September 2006

MIAMI: US teenagers' headlong rush into digital media reveals the unsurprising news that they rely mainly on the internet and on television to gather information about what is going on in the world around them.

The key findings of the Future of the First Amendment study are that 66% of high school students get their news and information from the news pages of internet portals such as Google and Yahoo, 45% from national TV news websites, 34% from local TV or newspaper websites, 32% from blogs and 21% from national newspaper sites.

The study, sponsored by the Florida-headquartered John S and James L Knight Foundation which funds journalism and free-speech initiatives, reveals that 45% of high school students say TV provides the most accurate news; 23% say newspapers, and just 10% favor blogs.

Only 10% of teens say they are not at all interested in the news, mostly because they feel it is not presented in an interesting way.

Nine out of 10 teens are wired to the internet through school, and eight in 10 at home.

The survey, which quizzed nearly 15,000 students and nearly 900 teachers at 34 high schools last spring, found only 28% of teachers thought TV was the best news source, a distant second to newspapers' 48%.

Newspapers in their traditional form do not rate highly with teens but, according to Jeffrey Cole at the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California, with age they will gravitate more toward online sites of respected news sources.

He adds: "Teens live in a world of user-generated content. As people get into their 20s and 30s, they rely less on peers as a source and want authoritative information."

Data sourced from USA Today Online; additional content by WARC staff