Last week, sixteen-year-old Taylor McGarry joined us in the office for a week’s work experience. We thought it would be interesting to get her take on how teenagers these days consume the news – and if they consume it at all. Here’s the piece she wrote with her views on the topic…
Unlike the generations before mine, people my age don’t have to wait for papers to print to find out breaking news stories. We don’t go looking for the news, the news comes to us. Without even having to leave the house to pick up a newspaper, we have access to news stories all over the world whenever we want.
My generation is known as the first ‘digital generation’ and for good reason. Everything we do somehow links back to phones, tablets or the internet. When I want to find out about a certain news story, picking up a newspaper will rarely cross my mind. Instead I could simply turn on the TV, type a few words into Google or open an app like Twitter. As if by magic hundreds of articles, videos and information concerning that specific story is right at my fingertips.
Social media is a huge part of how people, especially me and my peers, receive the news. Everything is shared on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others. For example, when it comes to big news stories like the recent US presidential election, it’s hard to scroll through the newsfeed of any one of those sites without seeing an insight or opinion appearing about what’s happening in that part of the world.
When buying a newspaper, you sometimes maybe be purchasing it just for one article, one segment or one story, and once you’ve finished reading that part, the rest of the paper can lie ignored. The way I consume my news, I never have to deal with this. If I don’t want to see a certain story appearing in my social media feed, I can simply press a few buttons and I never have to hear about it or see it again unless I choose to search for it. I have the power to filter my page by getting rid of the news I’m not interested in.
Filtering the facts
Twitter, an app that is particularly useful for consuming news, has now brought out a feature to make newsfeeds even more tailored to your likes and dislikes. I can now filter tweets shown to me by blocking certain words. For example, if I wish to block the words Donald Trump, I won’t be exposed to any articles or messages with his name mentioned. I can happily scroll through my filtered feed blissfully unaware of what’s happening over in America.
It seems people my age are consuming news without even realising it. Apps I use every day such as Snapchat, an app people would never think of when someone says ‘current affairs’, offers me a list of popular news outlets such as the Daily Mail, People and the Washington Post to name a few. Every 24 hours the news stories will switch to give Snapchat users information relevant to that day.
Although people my age do not purposely go to the news agents to get a newspaper, or will change the channel when the news is on; it doesn’t mean that teenagers are not interested in what’s happening both nationally and internationally. We’re just reading news differently to the generations before us.