YouTube has become an important source of news for many Americans reports the Pew Research Center, which adds that about a quarter of all U.S. adults (26%) say they get news on YouTube. Pew adds that “while relatively few of these people say it is their primary news source, most say it is an important way they stay informed.

“This raises the question: What kind of news are Americans getting on YouTube, and who are they getting it from? A new Pew Research Center study explores these questions in two ways: through a survey, conducted Jan. 6-20, 2020, among 12,638 U.S. adults that asked YouTube news consumers about their experiences on the website; and through an analysis of the most popular YouTube news channels and the contents of the videos published by a subset of these channels in December 2019. For the content analysis, researchers used a combination of computational methods and trained human coders to identify the most popular YouTube news channels and comb through thousands of hours of videos looking for their topic, tone and other attributes (see Chapter 2 and the Methodology for details).

“Indeed, the survey finds that most YouTube news consumers say they at least sometimes turn to news organizations as well as independent channels for news on the platform, and identical shares (23% each) often turn to each type of source. (Channels associated with news organizations are either the official channel of a news outlet, like CNN or Fox News, or one that features a particular program, show or journalist from these outlets. Independent channels do not have a clear affiliation with any external entity.)”

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