Where do college students find their news?


Graphic by Fatima Rosales

Social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter reign dominant as the main sources for online news. Students read news to stay informed or to be entertained

Before the advent of the internet, news stories were consumed through word of mouth, then through print, radio, and television. Now, the internet is the most popular method that people get their news.

In an informal poll on Instagram of 47 Cal State LA students, about 74% reported getting their news from social media. Newsprint and magazines came next with a preference of only 11%. Only 6% of our participants leaned towards receiving their news through TV and radio. 

As to which specific places our participants looked to for their news, the replies the UT received from an informal social media poll referenced Twitter, Instagram, and Fox News.

According to a recent 2022 study from Pew Research Center, Americans largely prefer getting their news digitally.

“Today, news websites, apps and search engines are the digital pathways most Americans get news from, at least sometimes,” the study found. “Half of Americans at least sometimes get news from social media, and about a quarter (23%) say the same of podcasts.”

It’s no wonder most college students have answered that they get their news from the internet. Traditional news platforms have been in decline with consumers in recent years.

For Alan Alanis, a mechanical engineering major, he spends his time reading up on sports.

“I get my news through a website, normally the Cal State LA one or through the numerous Cal State LA social media accounts,” Alanis said.

Another college student, Daniel Gomez, prefers reading about entertainment or sports news. Gomez said he likes staying informed on what’s important and what is going on.

“Usually I get my news through social media, especially Instagram,” Gomez said. “Mostly from accounts that are Cal State LA related or from friends.”

Whenever Cesar T.Contrerasa computer science major studenthas free time, he pulls up his phone to read news stories that come up on his social media feed. 

“I usually get it through online,” he said. “I follow a lot of news stations like Channel 5, CNN and ABC. A bit of everything really.”

Like most other college students, Contreras never wants to be left out of the loop.

“I’m not ever far behind, or too lost on what’s going on,” he said.

Another study from the Pew Research Center from 2020 indicates that the most popular social media source for news is Facebook. Researcher Associate Elisa Shearer and Research Director Amy Mitchell noted that the social media conglomerate is responsible for up to “a third (36%) of Americans getting news there regularly.”

This study shows that social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter reign dominant as the main sources for online news. 

Despite the disparity of news consumers on their choice of news media, almost every student that was interviewed can agree that the reason they read news in the first place is to stay informed and to be entertained.