College students split on trusting news, won't pay for it

A narrow plurality of college students say they trust the news while an overwhelming majority of them aren't willing to pay money for it, according to a new poll of more than 3,000 students by College Reaction.

Data: College Reaction survey of 3,268 U.S. college students conducted July 17–Aug. 21. ; Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: Lack of trust in media by the next generation of news consumers and their overwhelming opposition to paying for news could have big consequences for news operations that are looking to subscriptions for funding.

  • 81% of students get their news on their phone, compared to only 1% who get print, and 5% on the TV.
  • 24% of students get their news from CNN — the most popular news source from the poll. CNN was followed by 23% of students who chose the New York Times; 18% who said "other;" 15% chose Fox News; 8% said the Wall Street Journal; 5% chose NPR; 6% total went with MSNBC and The Skimm.

The big picture: The majority of students (58%) say they get their news from social media, of which the biggest platforms have long been under fire for various security and censorship issues. And students' news consumption habits could begin having a ripple effect as more start voting; a Pew Research survey found in April that Millennials were the largest voting cohort, and the generation behind them was starting to "make their presence known."

Methodology: An online survey of 3,268 college students was conducted using College Reaction’s national polling infrastructure from July 17th to August 21st. College Reaction implements a custom randomization approach to offer all members of a college's population an equal opportunity to be surveyed. Samples are aimed to represent the US college student population. Full details.