Swipe, Watch, Share: Unlocking Gen Z news consumption habits

Swipe, Watch, Share: Unlocking Gen Z news consumption habits

Gen Z has appeared as a main demographic for news publishers to reckon with when crafting their content strategies. These digital natives wield full-time access to uninterrupted and easily accessible internet connections. Hence, their news consumption habits are different yet important for media houses.

Their distinct preferences and behaviors set Gen Z apart in news consumption. Unlike other demographics, Gen Z marches to the beat of their own drum when consuming news. Their tastes are diverse, evolving, and often quite different from those of other age groups. 

As a newsroom, how can you catch most Gen Z readers? What is their favourite content piece? Which platform does Gen Z use the most to read news? What is the importance of AI-integrated newsrooms while catering to Gen Z. Have you considered the above-mentioned factors while crafting your content? Here is a detailed analysis of Gen Z news consumption factors.

Gen Z's Path to Staying Informed

According to Statista's report on  Frequency of using selected news sources among Generation Z in the United States , 50% of Gen Z use social media for their daily news, followed by a 23% selection of streaming devices. Only 4% of the demographic read national daily prints. 

A report by McKinsey & Company shed light on the evolving landscape of news consumption among Generation Z. Based on the report data, 50 percent or more of Gen Zers are tapping into social media channels daily to stay informed. Even more intriguing is that up to 15 percent of individuals aged 18–24 are turning to platforms like TikTok as their go-to source for news updates.

Among teens who actively follow the news, 66 percent rely heavily on push notifications to stay in the loop. This speaks volumes about Gen Z's changing habits and preferences when it comes to staying abreast of current events.

With Europe gaining a staggering 100 million digital users since 2019 and 80 to 90 percent of folks in the Middle East owning smartphones, access to information has never been more widespread. The study highlights many factors, with increased internet usage playing a pivotal role.

National Daily or Social Platforms? Where Gen Z Gets Their News?

From bite-sized snippets to immersive multimedia experiences, Gen Z craves content that is informative but also engaging and shareable. They're drawn to platforms that offer entertainment and education, where they can seamlessly transition from catching up on current events to exploring niche interests.

A recent announcement by the New York Times reveals they have added 300,000 paid digital subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2023, which helped them push the annual revenue for digital subscriptions above $1 billion for the first time. This report reveals no direct facts about Gen Z news consumption or subscription numbers. 

Still, it indicates altering their content strategy to provide more engaging content that caters to all age groups. Though Gen Z depends on social media to get their first bite, they are also ready to pay for their favorite content. 

Gen Z harbour's a distinct predilection for video narratives over traditional long-form content when engaging with news. Preferring the brevity and dynamism of web stories, they gravitate towards succinct yet impactful information presentations. 

However, Gen Z's affinity for long-form content emerges when a deeper understanding of a particular news item is desired, indicating a pragmatic approach to consuming information.

The Demographics Dilemma

Ofcom’s News Consumption in the UK 2022/23 report reveals among the dynamic demographic of 16-24-year-olds. Among this cohort, social media platforms reign supreme, dominating the list of the top five most popular news sources.

Instagram emerges as the undisputed frontrunner, with 44% of young adults citing it as their primary news source. Following closely behind are familiar platforms such as Facebook (33%), Twitter (31%), and TikTok (29%), each commanding a substantial share of the youth market's attention.

In a nod to the enduring influence of traditional media, BBC One emerges as the lone representative from this realm, securing a noteworthy 33% share of young adults' news consumption. This underscores the continued relevance of established media outlets even in an era dominated by digital platforms.

Instant Updates, Infinite Feeds: What Gen Z Search?

Gen Z values authenticity and inclusivity in the news sources they frequent. They seek content reflecting their diverse identities and perspectives, gravitating towards platforms prioritizing representation and fostering meaningful dialogue.

American Press Institute (API) has analyzed news consumption patterns among individuals aged 14 to 16. According to the findings, 71% of individuals within this age group rely on social media platforms for news daily, with a remarkable 91% doing so at least weekly. The average Gen Z consumer receives news content from approximately four social media platforms weekly. Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

Topics revolving around lifestyle and practical information resonate more strongly with this audience than weightier subjects such as elections, economics, politics, and governmental affairs. These insights offer invaluable glimpses into the evolving arena of news consumption habits among the younger demographic, emphasizing the importance of engaging and accessible content in capturing the attention of Gen Z.

Regarding the spectrum of intriguing news topics, a fascinating trend emerges among Generation Z, primarily interested in celebrities, music, television, movies, and entertainment.

Astonishingly, nearly half of respondents, accounting for 49%, are inclined to consume news and information about these captivating domains. Substantial 48% of individuals demonstrate a keen interest in the gastronomic world, avidly following news related to food and cooking.

Central to Gen Z's media consumption habits is a fervent quest for value extraction from every piece of content encountered. They are discerning consumers prioritizing utility and relevance, valuing content that imparts lessons or valuable insights. As such, catering to their preferences necessitates a diverse content strategy that offers entertainment, utility, and information.

Gen Z's appetite for content extends beyond serious news articles, emphasizing the importance of variety in content offerings. Striking a balance between lighthearted, engaging content and substantive news coverage is imperative in capturing and retaining their attention.

How can newsrooms captivate Gen Z?

Generation Z can be further delineated into two categories: Gen Z teens, individuals aged 14 to 19, and Gen Z adults, those falling within the 20 to 25 age bracket. Notably, the consumption patterns of news diverge significantly between these two segments.

A comprehensive analysis presented in a report by Deloitte entitled "2023 Digital Media Trends: Immersed and Connected," offers profound insights into contemporary digital trends. Crucially, it underscores the pervasive utilization of online platforms among Generation Z daily.

The consumer insights from Think with Google on How Gen Z is Teaching Us About the Future of News and Information." Delving into the psyche of this discerning demographic, a multifaceted portrait of news consumption habits. One striking revelation is the penchant of Generation Z for sourcing news from a multitude of diverse channels, eschewing the reliance on a singular source. 

Gen Z eagerly needs novelty, viewing each encounter with news as an opportunity for learning, development, and personal growth. Embracing the concept of education as an "on-the-go experience," they harness technology to curate their syllabus, tailoring their academic pursuits to align with their passions and interests.

Central to the preferences of Generation Z is an unwavering emphasis on authenticity in the information they consume. Unlike older generations characterized by steadfast loyalty to traditional news sources, Gen Z harbour's a more transient allegiance. 

Their allegiance is tethered not to specific media outlets but rather to the integrity and reliability of the content presented. They demand nothing short of authenticity, valuing the information's substance over the source's reputation.

In a whispered discourse within media circles, it's been speculated that Gen Z's loyalty pales compared to their older counterparts. For these digital natives, the paramount concern lies in the immediate accessibility of accurate information tailored to their interests.

Gen Z rarely read newspapers
Gen Z rarely read newspapersChumash Maxim

Authenticity to Activism: Insights for your next content strategy

  1. The younger generation is following a digital-first approach to news consumption. For publishers seeking to capture their attention and loyalty, personalized news alerts emerge as a potent strategy. 

  2. By curating content tailored to individual preferences, publishers can forge a direct and intimate connection with their audience, laying the foundation for sustained engagement and brand loyalty.

  3. Gen Z's relationship with news outlets is characterized by a zero-tolerance for factual inaccuracies or misinformation. Any misstep in delivering accurate information is met with repercussions such as uninstalling the news provider's mobile application and seeking alternative sources.

  4. Gen Z's penchant for nuanced understanding prompts demand for opinion and analysis alongside factual reporting. Providing insightful commentary and diverse perspectives enriches their understanding of complex issues, fostering a deeper engagement with the news ecosystem.

  5. Implementation of personalized news alerts holds the key to unlocking new revenue streams through innovative models such as paywalls and subscriptions. By offering exclusive and tailored content experiences, publishers can incentivize users to invest in premium access, diversifying their revenue streams.

Gen Z read news through social channels
Gen Z read news through social channels

How can AI-equipped newsrooms help publishers cater to Gen Z?

Gen Z is characterized by their innate technological proficiency—an attribute ingrained from their earliest encounters with mobile phones and the internet. For them, these digital tools are not just conveniences but integral components of daily life. Consequently, brands that embrace state of the art technology stand poised to capture the attention of this tech-savvy cohort.

What sets Gen Z apart is their boundless enthusiasm and propensity for engagement. Yet, their trust is not easily earned; it hinges upon transparency, ethical conduct, and unwavering commitment to data security. Brands prioritizing these values are more likely to foster meaningful connections with Gen Z consumers.

For newsrooms seeking to engage this discerning audience, the challenge lies in catering to individual preferences amid the vast expanse of readership. Enter artificial intelligence—a formidable ally in the quest for personalized content delivery. 

By using AI capabilities and implementing push notifications, media houses can streamline disseminating relevant content to specific reader groups, enhancing engagement and satisfaction.

Indeed, AI can potentially revolutionize various aspects of media operations, from content curation to audience segmentation. Here are some tasks where AI can prove instrumental:

For content curation

  • AI algorithms can analyze reader behavior and preferences, enabling newsrooms to tailor content to specific demographic segments.

  • By leveraging machine learning algorithms, media outlets can offer personalized content recommendations based on individual reading habits and interests.

  • AI-powered tools can generate content summaries, reports, and even articles, freeing journalists to focus on more complex storytelling tasks.

  • AI algorithms can provide insights into audience engagement metrics, enabling newsrooms to optimize content strategies in real-time.

  • AI-powered fact-checking tools can verify the accuracy of information, enhancing the credibility of news content.

In-built AI tools

  • AI technology empowers media organizations to navigate the intricacies of modern journalism with agility and precision. 

  • SEO: In-built SEO tools allow the user to generate meta title, meta description and social media description with one click.

  • Social share: When your CMS has an option for social media share, it minizes the work as well as ensure that your content is shared to all the social media channels in the same time.

  • Paraphrasing : Paraphrasing help to rewrite the content or create a better version of the sentence written. You don’t have to rely on a third party to paraphrase or generate a new content.

  • Multi language transition: When your CMS has an option to transform the content to different languages, it helps you to get wider audience attention  from different demographics.



In essence, catering to the preferences of Generation Z requires a multifaceted approach that prioritizes value, diversity, and depth. Media entities can effectively resonate with this discerning demographic by striking a harmonious balance between short-form video narratives and long-form content, offering a mix of global and local information, and incorporating opinion and analysis.

Setting up an AI-powered newsroom assist you in creating content in no-time that can cater Gen Z with various preferences. , Gen Z is redefining how information is accessed, processed, and shared. As news organizations adapt to meet these evolving habits, there lies an opportunity to forge deeper connections with this generation by prioritizing transparency, inclusivity, and relevance in storytelling.