Students Prefer Facebook To News, Survey Says

Survey concludes that students are more likely to read friends’ status updates than headlines
By: Sawley Vickrey

Signs that the news media are losing touch with this generation of young adults can be found on a college campus.

An informal survey of 10 University of Oregon freshmen and sophomores conducted by Reporting1Blog showed that most are more in touch with social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace than with print, broadcast and online news.  The survey examined its participants’ usage of and attitudes toward the news media.

Results show that 100 percent of those surveyed have a profile on Facebook, while results for various forms of news media varied.

The low numbers for the media could partly be attributed to a distrust by some students.  Forty percent said that they do not think news stories usually get the facts right.

“[The media] just go for the juicy stuff and not the details,” said freshman Tim Mai.

“I think [the media] don’t want to tell the truth sometimes,” added Carly Fortunato, a freshman majoring in psychology.

Half of the participants said they do not read newspapers.

Lauren Geschke, a sophomore, said she only reads newspapers “when they’re sitting around, but I don’t pay.”

Another half said they didn’t read or look at magazines.

“(I read) Time every once in a while,” said sophomore Ben Gauberg.

Fifty percent of those surveyed said they watch television news.  With 20 percent of the total survey, news giant CNN was the most common choice among those who said they watch TV news.

CNN proved popular again as an online news source, with 60 percent saying they use the cable network’s Web site for their news.

Online news was the only bright spot in the survey for news media, with 80 percent using the Internet for their news.

While Facebook was a consensus pick among participants, other notable networking sites such as MySpace and Twitter failed to match that popularity.  Forty percent of those surveyed admitted they have a MySpace account.  Only three of the 10 said they have an account on Twitter, arguably the trendiest online networking service in 2009.

“I think Twitter is sketch,” said freshman Kelsey Ludeman of the microblogging site.

Participants were also asked to determine whether certain individuals in the media can be considered journalists.
While some participants knew who at least one of the personalities was, others did not.  Thirty percent said that they were not able to recognize any of the names mentioned.

Half of those surveyed said political satirist Stephen Colbert can be considered a journalist.

Peter Smith, a freshman, was one of those who disagreed.  “He’s a comedian,” he said.

Only one person thought Fox News Channel commentator Glenn Beck, and three thought MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow and NBC Today news anchor Ann Curry were journalists.

“I like the Today Show and she delivers well,” said Fortunato of Curry.

About Sawley

Tortured but loyal fan of the Golden State Warriors, Oakland Raiders, Oakland A's, San Jose Sharks, Oregon Ducks and Chelsea FC. Life's easier with the R. Kelly Pandora station.
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