Teens turn to screens to get their news

By Amanda Gibson, Pocahontas County High School
FlipSide illustration
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The modern strides in multimedia have been explosive. News does not only come from newspapers anymore; now, news can come from places like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, online publications of newspapers and magazines and a multitude of TV channels and shows.The opportunities for people to catch up on the latest information have broadened immensely. Teenagers are especially feeling the effects of this as they take advantage of much more diverse newsgathering. Now, young people can see news from their hometown to the Swiss Alps in just the swipe of a finger, the click of a remote or the traditional flip of a page.Pocahontas County High School senior Rachel McComb says she gets her news from Channel One, a news broadcast PCHS students watch in their classrooms each morning. She also says she gets her news from her friends, who get their news mostly from the Internet.According to the 2011 Survey of High School Teachers and Students, the Knight Foundation reported that students are using digital media for news more than ever before. In 2011, 54 percent of students used the Internet to read news on a daily basis versus the 42 percent that read the news in print (newspapers, magazines, etc.).The Internet has become solid ground for news as many newspapers and magazines make their publications available on their own websites. Apple has incorporated an app into its new software called Newsstand, where users can purchase and download online newspapers and magazines.
Now, people can have an entire newspaper issue at their fingertips. Apps like these make it especially easy for teenagers to read news as getting the news is easier, faster and more convenient. In the Knight Foundation survey, 50 percent of the students used their smartphones to regularly check the news, and 65 percent of students said they used the Internet to gather news multiple times per week.Pocahontas County senior Anson Hatfield says he mostly gets his news from the Internet and television. In 2011, 58 percent of students watched one to two news stories on television per day.Makayla Dean is another PCHS student who gets her news from Channel One. Dean, like many students at PCHS, watches the news broadcast every weekday.Channel One directs their news stories toward teens, and their mission is to "[encourage] young people to be informed, digital-savvy global citizens." The show has inspired some PCHS teachers to use the news stories for class discussions, and many students have commented that Channel One is their primary source for news.Above all, it seems the major newsfeed for teenagers today is digital media. But perhaps there still is nothing quite like having ink-stained fingertips from flipping through the pages of a printed newspaper.
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