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When it comes to keeping up with political news, Americans of a certain age have turned away from TV news and turned toward online news feeds. More than 60 percent of millennials, unsurprisingly, find out read about politics and government on their Facebook feeds. Compare that to baby boomers, 60 percent of whom still turn on the nightly news for political developments and insights.
The generation in-between, so-called Generation X, are pretty split though—leaning more toward the way of youth than their parents: half report getting their political news from Facebook, just under half (46 percent) still tune in to TV news.
These findings are the result of an ongoing study of political news and information habits out of the Pew Research Center. Researchers studied the news consumption habits of around 3,000 members of the center's American Trends Panel for a little over a month last year.
The way different age groups consume political news is important in attempting to understand and anticipate change in voting habits and general attitudes about politics and government in the U.S. Whereas TV news is designed to appeal to a broad audience and is curated based on what editors and producers believe is most important for viewers (or, as has been the habit for decades, what grabs the most attention), the news from Facebook is curated by friends and followers. Studies of social media circles has found that despite social media's ability to connect users to just diverse people, groups, ideas and opinions, most of us end up with friends and followers with whom we pretty much agree on everything, particularly in politics.
The study also found that millennials, those between 18 and 33 years old, could identify news sources less frequently than Gen Xers (those 34 to 49) and baby boomers (who are 50 to 68). But their rate of trust of the sources they do encounter is about the same as with the older groups. Moreover, millennials report seeing more political content than the other groups.