Swiss teenagers and young adults continue to turn away from professional news sources, relying instead on social media for largely entertaining information, according to a study by the University of Zurich.
In its annual Quality of the Media yearbook, the Research Institute for the Public Sphere and Society said news media had a serious problem regarding its users, with 16- to 29-year-olds being sometimes completely uninterested in news stories.
Between 2009 and 2015, the number of young readers polled who informed themselves from traditional media – print, radio and television – dropped sharply from 56% to 35%.
“The use of news via social media is occurring together with an increased use of lower-quality content,” the institute said in a press release on Monday.
“An analysis of articles and the most ‘viral’ reports on social media shows that these are often short entertaining news stories that are emotionally loaded, or event-driven, and produced without much effort of perspective.”
The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation recently launched the politbox initiative to reach young people aged 16-34.
Instead of using traditional media channels such as television or radio, the programme sought to engage users through a quiz app where they could test their knowledge and share their opinions through a variety of social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Those platforms then became hubs for the community’s consumption of news and exchange of ideas.
Meanwhile, the evening news programme on Swiss public television, RTS, recently introduced a weekly segment entitled “L’as tu vu?” (Did you see it?) where young adults are asked to comment on current news stories.
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