Gen Z & News

Taking a mixed-methods approach to understanding how Gen Z seeks truth in the news media landscape (UXR Internship at Verizon Media).
Casually presenting to an audience of 50+ people and multiple product VPs.  I’m not nervous, I’m not nervous, I’m not nervous!

Casually presenting to an audience of 50+ people and multiple product VPs. I’m not nervous, I’m not nervous, I’m not nervous!

During my internship as a UX Researcher at Verizon Media, I led a summer-long research project to understand Generation Z’s attitudes and behaviors towards news media. More specifically, our research questions were:

RQ1: What drives Gen Z to consume the news they do?

RQ2: What does Gen Z want from the news they consume?

RQ3: How does Gen Z evaluate the trustworthiness of news content?

RQ4: How do the attitudes and behaviors of Gen Z compare to other generational cohorts?

To answer these questions, we conducted a two part study:

1) A two-week diary study (n=14) with individuals between ages 18-24 across the US

2) A survey (n=1188) informed by the diary study, to understand behavioral and attitudinal differences across generations

My contributions: 

  • Conducted a literature review

  • Created the diary study participant guide

  • Conducted all diary study intro and exit interviews

  • Analyzed diary study data using thematic analysis

  • Drafted cross-generational survey items

  • Analyzed survey data using a variety of statistical tests

  • Submitted papers to an internal conference and CHI2020 🤞

What I gained:

With this project, I can confidently say that I felt in it. Throughout the diary study, I followed the news stories that the participants were following; when mapping out diary study themes (peep the picture below for the 400-some cards), that was what I devoted all of my attention to, for hours at a time. By the time that the quant data was ready, I had already been knee-deep in the qual data for weeks, and this gave the quant analysis a whole other dimension of richness.

Maybe this is all to say that I understand the value of mixed-methods research now… Regardless, that was my takeaway!


I can also confidently say that this project wouldn’t have been possible without the other fellow researchers at Verizon Media who so graciously answered all of my questions, the ops team who made participant recruitment and coordination a researcher’s dream, and my mentor, Dr. Katie Quehl, who helped me all along the away, from offering best-practices to moral support when I felt stuck. A big thanks to all these people!

Curious about the findings?

Me too! I’m currently continuing this work for my Master’s capstone project. But I’m happy to talk about the initial findings, just let me know if you’re interested!


(Banner photo is by Roman Kraft.)