February 3, 2021
In the rapidly changing news ecosystems of emerging economies, news outlets are struggling to remain relevant and build loyal relationships with youth audiences (18 to 35 years old). As youth populations continue to grow in low-and-middle income countries, it is critical for independent media organizations to understand and respond to the changing news habits of younger generations. A snapshot of youth news consumption habits in Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Thailand highlights that the predominance of smartphones, and increasing access to the internet and social media, is fundamentally altering how youth access, interact with, and value independent news.Youth audiences tend to access news through their smartphone, relying more on social media algorithms and news aggregators than loyalty to particular news brands.Youth generally do not feel that the traditional, mainstream news media reports on issues that are important to them, preferring to access a wider variety of news alongside other kinds of information and entertainment.Despite relying on social media for news, youth are wary about whether the information they see on the internet is true. There is a tension between the convenience social media provides for accessing news and its propensity to amplify misinformation and increase political polarization.