You know the saying ‘slow news week’?
Well, it’s safe to say the last week has not been one of them, what with the dramatic escalation of Russia-Ukraine invasion concerns to Brittney Higgins and Grace Tame’s fiery speeches at the National Press Club.
Not even the news itself has been spared, with the Spotify-Joe Rogan spat reigniting debates about freedom of expression, misinformation and the legitimacy of alternative news sources.
Getting curious about young people deviating from from mainstream news media, Sydney comedian, podcaster and social media influencer Neel Kolhatkar asked his Gen Z following on Instagram what alternative news sources they trust.
“With all this Joe Rogan controversy, it got me thinking,” Neel wrote in his Instagram story.
“So many people get their news, information and opinions from alternative sources (especially Gen Z).
“Which media sources(s) do you trust the most? Did you start losing faith in the mainstream media, and if so, what was the catalyst?”
Some of these might take you by surprise (even a former prime minister’s Instagram made an appearance).
The Joe Rogan Experience
Okay, okay. As Spotify’s most popular podcast with an estimated 200 million downloads each month, the popularity of the Joe Rogan Expeirence with Gen Zs should hardly come as a surprise.
On the other hand, Friendly Jordies (aka Jordan Shanks-Markinova), Aussie YouTuber and stand-up comedian has a more ‘niche’ Australian audience with more than 600k subscribers (mostly Gen Zs and Millenials). He’s best known for his hardline political commentary and recently became a household name after John Barilaro sued him for defamation over a video he produced accusing the deputy premier of New South Wales of corruption and environmental vandalism.
What sets Michael West apart from other popular Gen Z alternative news sources like Joe Rogan and Friendly Jordies is that he’s a Walkley-award winning journalist and adjunct professor at the University of Sydney. One of Neel’s followers explained why they turned to Michael West’s commentary during the 2019 bushfires:
“How (the bushfires) were handled by mainstream (sic) it was an absolute joke and a mess,” they said.
“(That’s when) I was recommended Independent Australia and Michael West… and wow big difference because they give context behind the story. And yeah they give opinions, but I feel more informed on why they have that view.”
The Betoota Advocate
Now, The Betoota Advocate is actually a satirical news site, so initially, we were a little surprised that it came up as a preferred alternative news media for Gen Zs.
But here’s what one of Neel’s followers had to say about it:
“Betoota (is great) for general news as while it’s filled with jokes, you can more of less piece together the real threads of the news from it and they’re fairly unbiased and self aware.”
Come to think of it… isn’t dry, meme-style humour in a visual format that can be consumed in 8-seconds or less everything Gen Zs want in a news source?