Why Millennials and Generation Z
Will End Large News Outlets
FOX News. CNN. MSNBC. What do they have in common? They’re all dying news media outlets, and here’s why:
Over the past couple months – years – we’ve experienced a shift in the way we consume our news, content, and sources of entertainment. Ever since the Presidential Election of 2016, more people, specifically younger people, have arguably been more attentive to the news and current events.
I interviewed Dr. Leilani Carver-Madalon, an assistant professor in the Strategic Communication and Leadership Online Program at Maryville University, on what she had to say about this topic. Throughout the course of our conversation, we talked about how Instagram usage in adults has increased to 37% from the last year, and that “the percentage of people using Instagram varies substantially by age group, as the network is far more popular with younger users.” 67% of Instagram users belong in the 18-29 age group. That’s an incredible amount seeing how 1 billion people use Instagram every month and how this number only continues to rise.
But where are these people getting their information from? According to Pew Research Center, 52% of U.S. adults get their news from Facebook, 28% from YouTube, 17% from Twitter, and 14% from Instagram. Yet, we’re beginning to see a massive increase from sites like Instagram, Snapchat, and more recently, Tik Tok.
It’s undeniable younger generations are contributing to the recent spurt in news consumption. This is mainly due to the fact that almost all Gen Z kids nowadays have access to some sort of mobile device where they can download apps like Instagram and Twitter. Tik Tok has increased its popularity to about half a billion users already, and while it might pale in comparison to Instagram, I would argue that this growing amount is much more lethal than might you think.
Over the summer, President Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and because of the millions of fake reservations made by Tik Tokers and young K-pop fans, less than 6,200 attendees showed up to his rally, humiliating him on national television.
Not convinced yet? Let’s look at the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has been making headlines. After the horrific murder of George Floyd, many Millennials and GenZ-ers on Instagram, Tik Tok, and Twitter have not stopped posting different ways to get justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other victims of police brutality. As reported by The New York Times, in 2014, only about 146,000 tweets were posted under the #BlackLivesMatter. On May 28 this year, there were more than 8 million tweets under the same hashtag.
As discussed with Dr. Carver-Madalon, she mentioned how many people used Tik Tok and Instagram to secretly spread information about protest routes, locations of police officers, and ways to safely protect yourself from tear gas, rubber bullets, and arrests. She states, “Organizers use the encrypted messaging app Signal to communicate and Instagram stories and Twitter to coordinate protests.” The rise and power of social media platforms have never been more prominent than now.
I’m a GenZ kid myself. Born in 2001, a couple months right before 9/11 happened, and while I don’t remember anything about that event, me and millions of other kids nationwide had to grow up in the aftermath of it. Now that a lot of these GenZ-ers are starting to grow up, we’re paying more and more attention to the events happening in this world, and we’re doing something about it. This “something” ranges from organizing underground protests, spreading information to our friends and families, posting bingo boards on our Instagram stories to raise money.
However, we have to acknowledge the growing distrust in large news media platforms. According to Pew Research Center, “more than half of Americans say they have stopped following a news source because they thought they were posting made-up news and information, [and] nearly as many Americans prefer to get their local news online than on TV.” Nowadays, Facebook has become the dominant social media news source, but I believe that Instagram or Twitter will soon take its spot because of the rise in social media usage by Millennials, Generation Z, and soon Generation Alpha.
At this rate, it’s proven that the usage of social media platforms will only continue to increase leading to the inevitable downfall of large news media channels.
Elisa Shearer and Elizabeth Grieco, “Americans Are Wary of the Role Social Media Sites Play in Delivering the News,” Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project, May 30, 2020, https://www.journalism.org/2019/10/02/americans-are-wary-of-the-role-social-media-sites-play-in-delivering-the-news/.
“Demographics of Social Media Users and Adoption in the United States,” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech (Pew Research Center, June 5, 2020), https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/.
Travis M. Andrews, “Did TikTokers and K-Pop Fans Foil Trump’s Tulsa Rally? It’s Complicated.,” The Washington Post (WP Company, June 21, 2020), https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/06/21/tiktok-kpop-trump-tulsa-rally/.
Jenna Wortham, “A ‘Glorious Poetic Rage’,” The New York Times (The New York Times, June 5, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/05/sunday-review/black-lives-matter-protests-floyd.html.
A.W. Geiger, “Key Findings about the Online News Landscape in America,” Pew Research Center (Pew Research Center, May 30, 2020), https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/09/11/key-findings-about-the-online-news-landscape-in-america/.\
Christina Newberry, “37 Instagram Statistics That Matter to Marketers in 2020,” Hootsuite Social Media Management (Hootsuite Inc., June 12, 2020), https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-statistics/.