Who says kids are apathetic and don’t care about the news? Well, kids do—but their behavior suggests otherwise. A 2012 TBWA Worldwide survey found that 56 percent of all young adults described themselves as “activists.” Last year in the US, 2.4 million teens participated in campaigns organized by DoSomething.org, and 7,000 new kids sign up every day. The organization communicates largely by text with its kids (who overindex for minorities, versus the general population). In a survey about gun policy and school safety, posted online from mid-February to mid-March, more than 2,500 teens aged 12 to 25 weighed in, with the majority in favor of making gun regulation stricter. Previous campaigns have focused on teen pregnancy, homelessness, and poverty. Asked how and where they get their news, those surveyed responded that their top two everyday sources were Internet news sites (43 percent) and social media (46 percent). Indeed, DoSomething uses Facebook authentication to verify the survey takers’ identity and demographic details (but they’re shared only in aggregate, of course).
This article ran in CJR’s May/June 2013 edition as a sidebar to Ben Adler’s cover story on how millennials get their news.