Chapter 9

How the news topics Gen Z and Millennials follow relate to paying for and engaging with news

Our Media Insight Project survey of Americans ages 16 to 40 looked not only at the topics this population often follows, but also other news behaviors such as paying for or donating to news, and whether they share or comment on the media they see.

As more publishers court subscriptions and donations from wider audiences, they may find it helpful to understand the relationship between the topics people closely follow and how they pay for or engage with news. Publishers may be able to develop different strategies and messages for moving Gen Z and Millennials “down the audience funnel” based on tendencies for different news followers to pay or share news. 

Gen Z and Millennials who follow certain topics closely are more likely to share, comment on, and pay for news

The way Gen Z and Millennials pay for, share, comment or engage with news online varies depending on the topic they follow the most. Overall, 28% of Gen Z and Millennials pay for print or digital magazines, print or digital newspapers, or digital news apps. Gen Z and Millennials who say they most closely follow news on national politics or information related to COVID-19 are more likely to pay for these products. 

Gen Z and Millennials who most closely follow COVID-19 and national politics are more likely to pay for news

Overall, 38% of Gen Z and Millennials actively seek out news. Those who follow closely information on national politics or COVID-19 are more likely to actively seek out news.

Gen Z and Millennials who most closely follow COVID-19 and national politics are more likely to be news seekers.

Gen Z and Millennials who most often follow information on COVID-19 are more likely than those who most closely follow other “news you can use” topics to share and engage with the news with friends and family. There is no difference among those who most closely follow the “hard news” topics we studied, or the overall Gen Z and Millennial populations. 

Gen Z and Millennials who follow news on COVID-19 are more likely to share news with friends and family.       

Twenty-seven percent of Gen Z and Millennials comment or share news on their own social media or comment on news media platforms or accounts. Those who most closely follow information about COVID-19 are more likely to engage with news through social media or news organizations’ platforms than Gen Z and Millennials who most closely follow other topics we include in this report and Gen Z and Millennials overall.

Gen Z and Millennials who closely follow news on COVID-19 are more likely to share news on social media or news organizations' platforms.

Continue reading: Study methodology