Gunnedah’s youth population makes up a significant proportion of the shire compared to other regional towns and as dominant media formats continue to change, this publication set out to find out how young people want their news.

Newsroom methods have greatly evolved from our original predecessors in the early 1600s of those still in the printing world. It is no surprise to those still typing that the news landscape evolves with its readership and age a large variable for those preferences.

News was once supplied largely by print and it seems not that long ago that free-to-air TV news was on in every household.

Thirty years after the digital world first crept its way into society, social media now dominates the attention of young people but it is also deemed vital for many people of all ages to stay informed.

So that leaves the question; where do the shire’s young people fall on the media scale?

The Gunnedah Times asked people at the Youth Expo last month to fill out a survey, focusing on how young people wish to consume their news. It was later opened up on Facebook for anyone to fill out, but it still aimed at young people.

Of the 20 responses received, the most participants in one group were aged 15 – 16 (42.1 per cent) and 79.1 per cent were aged under 26.

Two were older than 26 and two did not state their ages.

Facebook and Instagram were found to be used the most regularly among the participants.

Despite this, Facebook was also the most disliked app among the platforms with reasons given such as it showed less filtered and more negative content in one user’s experience. Another participant said it spams them with ads that are not relevant. Two users even had the same answer stating it was an “old” platform while another wrote it was simply “boring”.

Of the responses, 52.6 per cent followed the Gunnedah Times on Facebook or Instagram with 10.5 per cent not being sure.

The most requested news topics of participants concerning the Gunnedah shire region was for upcoming events (88.2 per cent), followed by crime at (76.5 per cent).

The least interested topics were for finance and news regarding the Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce (both at 17.6 per cent).

Less than 50 per cent were interested in youth related issues (47.1 per cent).

When asked if participants would follow the Gunnedah Times on X (Twitter) most said no with only 16.7 per cent marking a definite yes.

TikTok, however, received the majority of all participants confirming they would follow the page.

The platform thrives from its short video format so it was less surprising that out of the total participants under the age of 26, most wanted to consume their news through short video format.

Tying for second from all participant’s answers were short stories and detailed written stories.

The highest preference for consuming news (multiple options chosen) was watching free-to-air television (11 participants) and closely behind was social media (10) whereas printed newspaper was at 7 participants. Only three under 26 said they would read printed newspapers.

The most seen news organisation by those participants was 7NEWS which was watched on the service’s app, free-to-air TV, on Facebook and TikTok.

Other news organisations mentioned were 10 News First on 10 Play, The Daily Australia and the ABC.

People were interested mostly in local news out of the options of local, Australian and world-wide news. However, this could potentially be because of the readership related to this survey.

Two people supplied addition information on what they would like to see more of in the newscycle. One requested more reporting on crime and court while the other wanted to see the region’s local parliament members addressing community concerns.

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