The Personal News Cycle revealed that the type of news people choose to follow varies significantly by race and ethnicity in the general population, [ref Among the 15 news and information topics respondents were asked about in The Personal News Cycle, significant differences in the proportions of whites, Hispanics, and African Americans emerged for seven of the topics.] and these new data reveal a similar trend among adults age 18-34.
In the current study, Millennials were asked if they regularly follow 24 different news and information topics. Significant racial and ethnic differences emerged for nine of the topics.
African American Millennials report following some lifestyle topics at higher rates than their peers. Overall, 35 percent of Millennials follow news about celebrities or pop culture. However, 56 percent of African Americans say they follow this type of news, about double the proportions of whites (29 percent) and Hispanics (28 percent) who say they follow this type of news. Similarly, just 26 percent of Millennials follow news about style, beauty, and fashion. Yet half of African Americans do so, making them about twice as likely as Hispanics (26 percent) and nearly three times as likely as whites (18 percent) to follow these topics.
When it comes to regularly following news on general information topics, the proportion of white and African American Millennials differs for three of the four topics: information related to their interest or hobbies (67 percent of whites vs. 46 percent of African Americans); information related to their job, industry, or profession (48 percent of whites vs. 34 percent of African Americans); and advice or how-to information (47 percent of whites vs. 32 percent of African Americans). There are no racial or ethnic differences when it comes to price comparisons or product research.
Among current events topics, whites and Hispanics are more likely than African Americans to say they follow news about science and technology (46 percent vs. 44 percent vs. 27 percent), the environment and natural disasters (39 percent vs. 36 percent vs. 16 percent), and foreign affairs (30 percent vs. 35 percent vs. 17 percent).
For whites and Hispanics, traffic and weather is the most commonly followed current events topic. For African Americans, however, the topic of crime and public safety is most commonly cited. These data were collected in January-February 2015, after months of press coverage of police-involved deaths of African American men in the United States. Crime and public safety is the third most commonly followed news topic for Hispanics, behind traffic and weather, and science and technology. It’s the fourth most commonly followed news topic for whites, behind traffic and weather, national politics and government, and science and technology.
Like Millennials overall, African American and Hispanic Millennials cite Facebook and search engines as the main ways they get their news on lifestyle and news-you-can-use topics. But, there is more variation by race and ethnicity when it comes to getting news on current events topics. For seven of the 12 current events topics, the most commonly cited source of information differed by race and ethnicity. For example, of those who say they follow news and information about crime and public safety, African Americans are nearly twice as likely as Hispanics to turn to local television news to get information on this topic (60 percent vs. 34 percent).