Book store and news dealer sales have plummeted over the past decade, and newspaper publisher revenues have followed a similar trend. Although newspaper brands are some of the oldest and most well-established sources of information in the U.S., they simply haven’t adapted quickly enough to keep their consumers in the new digital age. Around 85 percent of U.S. based consumers use their cell phone to access the news these days, and young people increasingly rely on online sources and face-to-face discussions with peers. Young people are also becoming less and less interested in local news, and news pertaining to specific towns or neighborhoods is among the least followed topics overall.
As traditional news sources experience decline, social media has been quick to pick up the slack and is becoming a particularly common news source among America’s youth, in fact, 89% of college students use social media to access news on a weekly basis. Facebook is the leading social network in terms of news content, with 48 percent of consumers using it on a weekly basis. Although the advantages of social media as a news source are numerous, the disadvantages seem to be primarily related to trust and accuracy. A massive portion of U.S. consumers state that they believe that over 76% of social media based news is biased, and large portions also seem to doubt its level of accuracy in general.
Although social media may make the issue worse, doubts over bias and trustworthiness aren’t specific to online news sources. Only 34 percent of Americans state that they trust the news media as a whole, which is one of the lowest percentages in the world. On the bright side, significant portions of the population remain relatively trusting of broadcast TV news and print newspapers, especially when compared to their level of trust in social media platforms. For good or for bad, around 76 percent of U.S. consumers remain at least somewhat confident in their ability to distinguish between real and fake news.
The current state of the news industry in the U.S. is best described by one word: transition. With the massive technological changes seen in the past decade, people are still adapting to new sources of news and being forced to alter their perceptions of the accuracy of the news they read.