To help sort out the millennials, researchers surveyed them and came up with four general categories. While exploring the news habits of millennials (those born after 1980), researchers have identified four distinct groups of news consumers among the teenage population.
These categories are “the Unattached”, “the Explorers”, “the Distracted”, and “the Activists”.
“This study typifies each group of news consumers and identifies challenges and opportunities for news publishers attempting to reach the Millennial audience,” said Trevor Tompson, director of the Associated Press-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research at University of Chicago.
“The Unattached” group is younger — in the age group 18-24 — that bumps into news rather than seeking it out.
Most have not yet started families or established careers. They primarily go online for social or entertainment activities and few follow current events.
“Most do not pay for news, but many still keep up generally with what is going on in the world and are open to differing opinions,” Tompson added.
“The Explorers” are also younger in the same age group 18-24 and actively seek out news and information.
They tend to follow a variety of current events and news-you-can-use topics.
Many believe in the social and civic benefits of following news.
Youngsters in “The Distracted” group (age 25-34) have families and are part of the middle class.
“They tend to not use news for civic or social purposes. They do not actively seek news out and tend to mainly follow lifestyle and news-you-can use topics with direct relevance to their daily lives,” the authors noted.
The last group, “The Activists”, are also older (age 25-34) and have already established families, careers and a connection to their community.
“They are racially and ethnically diverse and experienced enough in the world to care about certain issues, and they have enough stability in life to spend energy on those issues,” the authors said.
A majority of these millennials personally pay for a digital or print news subscription.
“The study provides key insights as well as concrete recommendations for publishers wishing to reach Millennials,” said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute.
The research was conducted by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and The AP-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research.