When Gen Z and Millennials closely monitor news about crime and public safety, where do they turn for that information and how? The Media Insight Project survey of Americans ages 16 to 40 outlines for news organizations the news habits for the 13% who most often follow this topic compared to other “hard news” topics we asked about. 

Crime and public safety is a popular news topic across Gen Z and Millennials

Overall, there are few demographic differences among Gen Z and Millennials who say news about crime and public safety is the topic they follow most often. 

The one exception is education. Gen Z and Millennials without a college degree are more likely than those with a college degree to list crime and public safety as the topic they follow most often, and those without a degree make up 80% of those who most often follow news about crime and public safety. 

Gen Z and Millennials who most closely follow news on crime and public safety are similar to the overall Gen Z and Millennial generations across key demographic characteristics.

Many Gen Z and Millennials who closely follow news about crime and public safety do so at least daily, though those without a college degree are more likely to follow this topic each day

Among Gen Z and Millennials who say crime and public safety is the “hard news” topic they follow most often, 59% report following news on the topic at least daily. This includes majorities across generations, race and ethnicity, geography, party affiliation, and gender. 

Some educational differences again arise. Of the people who say they follow crime and public safety most often, those without a college degree are more likely to follow it daily than those with a college degree (60% vs. 54%).

Among those who follow news on crime and public safety most often, Democrat Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to follow the topic at least daily than Republican Gen Z and Millennials (67% vs. 53%).

College educatd Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to follow crime and public safety news at least daily.

Among those who most closely follow crime and public safety, Facebook is the dominant social media platform for news on the topic

Of those who most often follow information on crime and public safety, Facebook is the clear top platform used by Gen Z and Millennials to get such information, with about half saying it is the platform where they most often get information related to this topic. Nearly 1 in 5 use YouTube for crime and public safety information, and less than 1 in 10 say the same for other platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Reddit and TikTok. 

Facebook dominates as the most-used social platform for news about crime and public safety.

Local news organizations are the most commonly used social media accounts for those who closely follow crime and public safety

The local and variable nature of crime and public safety makes local news sources — including social media accounts from local news organizations and traditional local media — the most-cited accounts by Gen Z and Millennials who closely follow the topic. Local TV stations and local news organizations are the most-common accounts these generations use to get news about crime and public safety if they follow it often. Accounts from individuals or influencers are also popular for this topic.

Accounts from local news organizations are the most-comon accounts on social media for close followers of news about crime and public safety.

Local TV stations are the predominant traditional media source for news about crime and public safety for those who closely follow the topic

Local TV stations are the predominant traditional source for news on crime and public safety; about half of Gen Z and Millennials who closely follow the topic report using them. While local TV stations are also widely used as sources for other topics like information on traffic and weather, crime and public safety is the topic where local TV stations are most prominent among frequent users. Further, local newspapers are also key sources, with about 1 in 10 Gen Z and Millennials who follow crime and public safety closely using these publications for news about it.

Local TV stations are the predominant traditional media source for news about crime and public safety.

Continue reading: Information related to COVID-19 such as the state of the pandemic, restrictions, or policies like mask and vaccine mandates

Share with your network

You also might be interested in:

  • Ways to support conversations for balancing innovation and stability in your news organization, essential considerations about this often overlooked topic, and guidance to include them in your technology decisions.

  • Successfully and efficiently marketing your work can be hard, especially for local news teams with limited resources, but marketing yourself to your audience is an essential skill for news organizations to drive revenue and promote sustainability.

  • As news teams begin thinking about their election coverage plans, it may feel like adding more tasks to an already full plate, with a fraction of the staff and resources they once had. But that doesn’t have to mean figuring out how to do more with less — maybe it’s doing less with less.