Online News Consumption Habits Based on Where You Grew Up in the USA

It is no secret that most young Americans receive their news from online sources rather than an actual newsstand today. Yes, there is indeed a newsstand app but that is not the primary focus of this post.

An actual newsstand not the app version. Image- Claflen Associates

I interviewed my three housemates about their use of online news sources. I asked if they believed where they grew up influenced their particular habits.

My first interviewee was Jackie. Jackie attends Unity College full time and is heavily involved with athletics. Jackie was born and raised in Rifle, Colorado. Jackie uses minimal online news sources, preferring CNN online and her yahoo homepage. She says “Rifle was a small town, I got the news whenever I went out to eat or hanging around after church”. Using social media sites for the news does not interest Jackie, she finds them less than useful.

Aeriel view of Rifle. Image- Airphoto

Anaheim, California the hometown of Olivia, another current roommate of mine. Olivia is one half hour from downtown LA, “well if traffic didn’t exist” she told me. Olivia is a full time student in her last semester at Unity College. With a light course load and a bad case of Senioritis, she can be seen spending a large amount of time “job searching” and watching Netflix. She gets her news from Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Olivia believes her SoCal lifestyle makes it easier to digest what news she sees on social media. She told me “It might not be true, but then again another article will come out in five minutes with the truth, so whatever”. Olivia does not use official news sites like CNN because they are “not convient to access” in her opinion.

Anahiem/LA at night. Image-Anahiem Helicopters

My third and final housemate interviewee was John. John is a Unity College graduate working as a full-time police officer for Belfast, Maine. John is from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts a smaller city located just outside of Worcester. While John prefers his news in the form of magazines and newspapers, he uses his phone a majority of the time. John has many ways to access the news on his iphone. He says “I always have my phone on me. I unlock it, swipe right, and it shows me all the latest current events”. John can be seen using the New York Times Now app up to four times a day. He told me “Facebook is unreliable. It is fun to check to see what my friends are posting about the debate, but thats about all the news I read on there”.

Downtown Shrewsbury. Image-Shrewsburyma.gov

All three of my interviewees came from very different backgrounds. It was clear to me that where you are from can have a heavy influence on the way you get the news online. Certain apps, websites, and methods of online news retrieval will vary across the country. Well, at least that is what I got out of the three interviews I conducted.

-Connor McNulty

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