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Millennials & Teens’ 20 Top News Sources

We asked 1000 13-33-year-olds to tell us the one source they turn to for news the MOST…

At this point less than one in ten 13-33-year-olds say they are spending on newspapers each month, and only 4% are paying for online news site access—but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in the news. Ypulse’s monthly survey revealed that 69% of 13-33-year-olds follow the news some or all of the time—and the top reason they do is because they like to be informed and in the know. In fact, there seems to be somewhat of a “news rush” to provide young consumers with their breaking headlines and news stories. Vice reports that their fastest growing division is news, and the media brand has struck gold with younger audiences by filling the “big white space” co-founder Shane Smith says was created by “perception that Gen Y didn’t really care about news which is obviously not true.” Startups like Mic and Vox are creating more competition in the digital news space, using apps and even chatbots to deliver the news to Millennials and teens across the platforms they’re spending time on. Many of the “new news” media are built around the idea that young consumers aren’t finding the kind of news they are interested in via traditional sources. Digital media company Newsy reports that they drew in 300 million viewers in the first quarter of this year by producing up to 35 videos daily for an audience “seeking something different than what’s on cable news and broadcast news.” According to a Newsy general manager: “There’s a misconception that people my age don’t give a damn about the world around them…We’re proving that wrong.”

But while young consumers are turning to web and mobile for their news fixes, just creating an app doesn’t necessarily guarantee they’ll pay attention. Last week, it was revealed that The New York Times is putting an end to its Millennial news app, NYT Now, after two years of struggling to attract a young audience. Business Insider reported that the app was unable to compete with social media, even after dropping their paywall.

Clearly, the competition to be Millennials and teens’ news source is cutthroat and full of complications—mainly that they don’t want to pay anyone for news. Social media has become the main place they stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the world, acting as a news source curator that allows them to passively see trending news content without putting in much effort, clicking the news links that seem most interesting as they browse through other content. But they still have sources that they rely on to keep informed, and we found out what they are when we asked 1000 13-33-year-olds to tell us the one source (specific site, newspaper, show, app, etc.) that they turn to for news the most. Here are their top 20 current go-to sources: 



  1. CNN

  2. Local news channel / site / app

  3. Facebook

  4. FOX

  5. The New York Times

  6. Twitter

  7. NPR

  8. Google News

  9. BuzzFeed

  10. BBC

  11. Yahoo

  12. Reddit

  13. NBC

  14. ABC

  15. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

  16. Apple news app

  17. Huffington Post

  18. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

  19. News app

  20. Tumblr / The Washington Post

CNN was the most mentioned news source for 13-33-year-olds overall. One important note here: for all the cable news sources on the list, a combination of the network’s channel, site, and app were usually mentioned. Young consumers are going to a diverse range of places to get their news, with 67% keeping up with news on their phones regularly, 63% keeping up on their computers regularly, and 53% keeping up on TV regularly.  Any source needs to be living across platforms for them. 

Some of the top go-to news sources mentioned might be influenced by young consumers’ preference for unbiased news, which they have a hard time finding. Our survey found that 60% of 13-33-year-olds mostly get news from sources that don’t have a particular point of view, versus 40% who say they mostly get news from sources that share their points of view. They’re hyper-aware of various sources’ biases, and resources like Google News, the Apple news app, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit allow them to see the range of POVs that many sources curated together provide. One respondent explained, “The trick isn’t to rely on one site, everyone spins a story, you have to read several sites’ take on the same story, and catch the common threads.”

When we look at the top sources for males, females, teens, and older Millennials, some slight differences appear:

CNN is a top five source for all groups, but males have Reddit in their top five list, teens are more likely to be looking to Twitter as a news curator, and females and older Millennials are more likely to look to the New York Times

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.