GenZ doesn’t read newspapers. But you already knew that. GenZ also doesn’t read news sources’ websites or watch news on TV. We’ll listen to podcasts but we mainly get our news where we spend most of our time, social media.

We’ll listen to podcasts but we mainly get our news where we spend most of our time, social media. Click To Tweet

Every morning while eating breakfast, I scroll through Twitter, Facebook and even Snapchat to get my fill on what’s in the news that day. It becomes frustrating when my feed is full of obvious, and some not so obvious, unreliable news articles. Sometimes my feed is filled with these articles because that’s what people are putting out and other times, it’s because people I follow are sharing it. After taking multiple media classes and attending multiple journalism conferences, I’ve compiled a list of how to sift through your feed to determine what articles are worth reading and what articles should be scrolled past and left unshared.

Avoid unreliable news in the age of social media

  1. Avoid clickbait, aka headlines that are so bizarre you can’t help but click on the article and read it. Social media is infested with mass amounts of people spreading these kinds of headlines. When headlines are in all caps to get your attention, you are reading unreliable news. A tell tale sign that you’re reading unreliable clickbait news is when there are grammatical errors in the headline and throughout the article.
  2. Pay attention to domain names. If the domain has random numbers and letters, exit out, keep scrolling and don’t share the information.
  3. Find out who wrote it. If you’ve read a lot of the author’s other work, it’s probably reliable. If you’re unsure, look them up. Have they written a lot of other articles? If yes, keep reading and share. Have they written for credible and well-known sources before? If they haven’t, stop reading and don’t share.
  4. Distinguish whether the article is part of the sources news or editorial section. This is key. You should be able to find this information where the author and date of publication are. Sometimes it is even listed in the headline. This is becoming harder, especially for GenZ because we get a large portion of our news from social media. We aren’t reading newspapers where the sections are clearly labeled news and editorial. We aren’t even reading the news sources’ websites where they label sections. Instead we’re getting our news from a platform where fact articles and opinion articles are mixed in with each other. Which leads me to the idea that knowing fact vs. opinion is paramount. Read the article consciously decoding the article for what is fact and what is opinion. If you actively read the article like that, you’ll have a good idea of how reliable the article that you’re reading is.we’re getting our news from a platform where fact articles and opinion articles are mixed in with each other...knowing fact vs. opinion is paramount Click To Tweet
  5. Determine the purpose of the article. One presenter I listened to at a journalism conference said to determine whether the article is meant to educate, inform or inflame. In other words, is the article meant to inform the reader of something or is it meant to get a reaction out of the reader so they share the post? If the answer is the ladder, stop reading and don’t share.Is the article meant to inform the reader of something or is it meant to get a reaction out of the reader so they share the post? Click To Tweet

We’re in a time where the media is trying to adapt and keep up with the needs of GenZ. Until they figure out more effective ways to organize news via social media, it is up to us to know the difference between what is reliable news and what is unreliable news.

Please comment and include any sites you recommend or suggest people stay away from.

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