Before COVID-19, 38% of Americans were getting their news from TV and 25% from news websites like FOX News, ABC, CNN and the New York Times. 22% utilized more traditional resources, like radio, for news and 15% looked to social media for quick updates. During the COVID-19 outbreak almost every news outlet has decreased in utilization except for social media, which has seen the largest increase with a 15 to 28% jump.
Since the spread of COVID-19, people have been eager to understand what’s taking place during the pandemic, how to better protect themselves and what the future holds. However, with multiple “experts” rushing to the forefront to inform the masses and so much information in circulation, consumers are finding it harder than ever to discern what’s real, what’s fact and where to turn to for reliable info.
We’ll examine recent and past studies by the Pew Research Center and the RAND Corporation to break down which platforms audiences trust, why and the emotional impact the pandemic has had on our consumption of news.
Trust in new source varies by age and by platform
Perhaps not surprisingly, users between the ages of 18 and 29 are more likely to trust news found on social media platforms. But perhaps more unexpected is this trust decreases as age increases. Users 65+ are least likely to trust news found on social media, which conflicts with previous findings that seniors are more likely to trust online resources, misinformation and scams.
Seniors, along with users 18-29 and 30-49 are more likely to trust local and national media like TV news stations and radio when it comes to receiving information. This trust is most likely earned from the general belief that TV and radio outlets are subject to more rigorous restrictions and vetting before spreading information as factual.