Student Life

St. Ambrose Students Embrace Social Media as Primary News Source

Old man holding a newspaper sat next to a young an holding a tablet. (Photo courtesy of Matthew G)

In today’s digital era, the way people consume their news has drastically changed. Media outlets such as newspapers and television have fallen out of favor, particularly among young people. Instead, social media has become a popular method of accessing information. St. Ambrose students admit they are no different. 

Macie, a psychology major at St. Ambrose candidly admits, “It sounds so bad, but I get most of my news on TikTok.” However, she admits she does not fully trust this method. 

“If it’s something big, I will definitely Google it to see if I can find any more information.” This cautious approach, shared by many students, emphasizes the growing awareness among young people of the need to verify information. 

Ella, a fellow psychology major, agreed with Macie stating, “I get my news on TikTok or sometimes even Facebook.” However, she agrees that it is not the most reliable source of information. “When I talk about it, I’ll say ‘well I saw this on TikTok so I don’t know if it’s really true.’” 

Phone held in front of newspapers. (Photo courtesy of CartridgeSave Images)

Emily, a freshman forensic psychology major, gets her information from a different social media source, Twitter. Emily states she previously gathered information from TikTok but now, “I don’t even have TikTok downloaded on my phone. I get addicted to it, so I try to avoid it.” Emily followed the same path of her peers when it came to trusting the information she sees on social media, “I will search it up online to verify.” 

A computer science major, who chose to remain anonymous, agreed that he gets most of his information from social media. This student says his level of trust depends on the source. “For the most part, I trust individual reporters who have a good reputation.” He emphasizes that verification can be difficult for him, “What am I gonna do, go to the Middle East and see for myself? If it’s being reported from multiple news sources I figure it’s probably true.” 

Winston Huston, a senior multimedia journalism major, agreed with previous students that he obtains most of his news from social media. To verify this information is correct, Winston’s method reflects that of his peers, “If it’s interesting to me, I’ll go to an actual news source to read more.” Additionally, Winston says, “I trust it when I see it’s confirmed by multiple news sources, and I don’t when it’s not.”

These interviews showcase that news consumption among college students is characterized by a heavy reliance on social media. While platforms such as TikTok and Twitter offer convenience and accessibility of news, these students emphasize the need to verify information found on such platforms.