Making Media that Early Career Adults Want

Early career adults consume news content covering topics from finance, politics, science, and more. We assess how individuals in this group are choosing to curate their experience of news in today’s media- and information-rich world.

by John FraserJena Barchas-Lichtenstein
Jul 16, 2019

Key Findings

This white paper summarizes preliminary findings from a four-year study to understand the STEM news habits and preferences of early career adults. Research suggests that individuals in this group have a large appetite for news covering a range of topics including science content, and that they get much of their information from various broadcast and online sources. Their news habits reveal a thoughtful curation of the tidal wave of information available to them. That curation process is deeply rooted in different motivations for following science news: links to moral questions, perceptions of individual relevance, story aesthetics, and self-identification as a science person.

Let’s Put It to Work

For media producers: appeal to early career adults by crafting stories that take an explicit moral position or connect to relational motivations. Our research shows that this audience is highly motivated to consume news that connects to their personal lives or takes on moral questions. Furthermore, stories that are designed to evoke emotional responses work well with this group. Our research indicates that this is true even if the individual does not self-identify as a science person.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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