Social Media and News Gathering: Tapping into the Millennial Mindset

Harsha Gangadharbatla, Laura F. Bright, Kelty Logan


Social media are transforming the way information travels within and between networks of individuals. Many pundits claim that individuals no longer seek news but instead news finds individuals, particularly on social media websites. The current study is an exploratory look at how one specific group of individuals—Gen Y—gathers news. Data was collected from an online survey and results indicate that Gen Y is increasingly relying on social media for information and news. Interestingly, despite their preference of social media for news gathering, young adults still perceive traditional media sources as more credible than social media sources. Other findings are presented, and both theoretical and practical implications are drawn. 


News gathering, social networking, millennials, news credibility

Full Text:



Althaus, S. L. & Tewksbury, D. (2000), Patterns of Internet and Traditional News Media Use in a Networked Community, Political Communication, 17, 21-45.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Bonds-Raacke, J., & Raacke, J. (2010). MySpace and Facebook: Identifying Dimensions of Uses and Gratifications for Friend Networking Sites. Individual Differences Research, 8(1), 27-33.

Cacioppo, J. T. & Petty, R.E. (1982). The Need for Cognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 116-131.

Cacioppo, J. T., Petty, R. E., & Kao, C.E. (1984). The Efficient Assessment of Need for Cognition. Journal of Personality Assessment, 48, 306-307.

Carenini, G. (2001). An Analysis of the Influence of Need for Cognition on Dynamic Queries Usage. Ext. Abstracts CHI2001, Seattle: ACM Press, 383-384.

Chu, S.-C., & Kim, Y. (2011). Determinants of consumer engagement in electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) in social networking sites. International Journal of Advertising, 30(1), 47-75.

Cohen, A. R. (1957). Need for Cognition and Order of Communication as Determinants of Opinion Change. The Order of Presentation and Persuasion, C. I. Hovland, ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 79-97.

Eastin, M. S. (2005). Teen Internet Use: Relating Social Perceptions and Cognitive Models to Behavior. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 8(1), 62-71.

Eastin, M. S. (2002). Diffusion of E-commerce: An Analysis of The Adoption of Four E-Commerce Activities. Telematics and Informatics 19(3), 251-267.

Eastin, M. S. & LaRose, R. L. (2000). Internet Self-Efficacy and the Psychology of the Digital Divide. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 6(1) Retrieved August 21, 2011 from the World Wide Web:

Emmett, A. (2008). Traditional News Outlets Turn to Social Networking Web Sites in an Effort to Build Their Online Audiences. American Journalism Review, 30(6), 40-43.

Ferguson, D. & Perse, E. M. (2000), The World Wide Web as a Functional Alternative to Television, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 44, 155-174.

Gangadharbatla, H. (2012). Social Media and Advertising Theory, in Advertising Theory, eds., Shelly Rogers and Esther Thorson, New York: Routledge.

Hair, J. F., Anderson, R. E., Tatham, R. L., & Black, W. C. (1998), Multivariate Data Analysis, 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Hall, R., & Hall, M. (2010). Scoping the pedagogic relationship between self-efficacy and Web 2.0 technologies. Learning, Media & Technology, 35(3), 255-273.

Hermida, A. Twittering The News. Journalism Practice, 4(3), 297-308.

Hovland, C. I., & Weiss, W. (1951-1952). The Influence of Source Credibility on Communication Effectiveness. The Public Opinion Quarterly, 15(4), 635-650.

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the World, Unite! The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59-68.

Knowledge Networks. (2009). How People Use (R) Social Media. Menlo Park, CA: Home Technology Monitor.

LaRose, R., & Eastin, M. S. (2004). A Social Cognitive Theory of Internet Uses and Gratifications: Toward a New Model of Media Attendance. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 48(3), 358-377.

LaRose, Robert & Eastin, M. S. (2002). Is Online Buying Out of Control? Electronic Commerce and Consumer Self-Regulation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 46(4), 549-564.

LaRose, R., Lin, C. A., & Eastin, M. S. (2003). Unregulated Internet Usage: Addiction, Habit, or Deficient Self-Regulation. Media Psychology, 5, 225-253.

LaRose, R., Mastro, D., & Eastin, M. S. (2001). Understanding Internet Usage: A Social-Cognitive Approach to Uses and Gratifications." Social Science Computer Review, 19 (4), 395-413.

Lazaroiu, G. The Creation of New Global Communication Infrastructures and Forms Of Online Interaction. Annals of Spiru Haret University, Journalism Studies, 12, 92-95.

Lipsman, A. (2011). The Network Effect: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter & Tumblr Reach New Heights in May [Electronic Version]. comScore Retrieved June 23, 2011 from

The Nielsen Company. (2009). Global Faces and Networked Places. A Nielsen Report on Social Networking's New Global Footprint. New York, NY: Nielsen Online.

Mayfield, A. (2008). What is social media? [Electronic Version]. Networks, 1 from

Mitchell, A., Kiley, J., Gottfried, J., and Guskin, E. (2013). The Role of News on Facebook. Pew Research Journalism Project. October 24, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013 from

Moody, K. E. Credibility or Convenience? Political Information Choices in a Media-Saturated Environment. Media International Australia (8/1/07-current)(140), 35-46.

Pew Research Center. (2011). The State of the News Media. New York: Project for Excellence in Journalism and Pew Internet and American Life Project available at (accessed on October 29, 2011).

Pew Research Center. (2010). The State of the News Media. New York: Project for Excellence in Journalism and Pew Internet and American Life Project available at (accessed on October 27, 2011).

Phillips, D. (2008). The Psychology of Social Media. Journal of New Communications Research, 3(1), 79-85.

Qualman, E. (2009). Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Ross, C., Orr, E. S., Sisic, M., Arseneault, J. M., Simmering, M. G., & Orr, R. R. (2009). Personality and motivations associated with Facebook use. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(2), 578-586.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Based at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, USA, The Journal of Social Media in Society is sponsored by the Colleges of Liberal and Fine Arts, Education, Business, and Graduate Studies.