Editorial: Do we really know what we’re talking about?

A typical millennial might not be able to tell you who anchors the evening news, although that does not mean they aren’t well-informed. Online news platforms and social media are increasingly popular forms of media consumption, especially for young people.

On college campuses, for example, many students don’t have cable TV or print media subscriptions, but they are much more likely to have Internet access and multiple social media accounts that all provide breaking news in some way. Social media, as The Bucknellian has previously covered, is playing a pivotal role in the 2016 presidential election.

A recent survey from Pew Research Center showed that among millennials who say they are very likely to participate in their state’s primary or caucus, 74 percent of Democrats or those who lean Democratic have learned about the election from social media, while 50 percent of millennial Republicans or those who lean Republican have done so.

According to the same survey, Facebook is the most popular form of social media for both Democratic and Republican millennials, although there are significant discrepancies between which media platforms are used by Democrats and Republicans.

Reddit, for example, is an online community in which users can post links, photos, and videos and subsequently vote posts up or down. While already more popular among millennials than other generations, 16 percent of Democrats reported using Reddit to learn about the election, while only 1 percent of Republicans reported using it.

Applications like Facebook and Twitter make it convenient for young adults to maintain social connections and network with their peers while being informed of the trending news topics. Similarly, theSkimm, a daily e-mail newsletter, is popular for college students who might not otherwise take the time to stay informed.

Student groups on campus have also made similar efforts to help students stay informed. March 1, for example, marks Super Tuesday, when 14 states will hold primaries or caucuses. The University’s Uptown event space will host a viewing of the night’s election coverage. The Bucknell College Republicans, Conservatives Club, College Democrats, and Bucknell Student Government will be in attendance, so students of all political affiliations will be represented. Similarly, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and other networks will be shown.

Regardless of political affiliation, online and social media news sources are the way of the future, and are often more convenient and appealing for millennials to use. However, to remain politically engaged, millennials must make an effort to be informed.

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