The way people get their news is changing at a rapid pace, especially among the Millennial generation, and former CNN Vice President Steven W Korn has observed the change firsthand.

“The news business has changed radically, in part due to the rise of social media in the last 7-8 years,” he says.

“The internet, particularly social media, has radically changed the way people consume information,” Korn continues.

The business expert notes a recent study by Scarborough Research found that Millennials– individuals currently between the ages of 18 and 34—are 110 percent more likely to get their news online than the overall adult population.

Over 40 million Millenials get news and information online across all platforms, making them a powerful force of media consumption. Understanding how Millennials access news may help respected news outlets reach larger audiences. With 3 million Millennials being mobile-only, creating smartphone friendly websites is key.

While the older generations are still more likely to get their news from carefully researched and edited newspapers, Millennials report getting 68 percent of their news from social media like Twitter.

“I think there is significant downside to consuming information in this way,” Steven W Korn cautions.

While Twitter and Facebook may seem like good sources of information and first-person accounts, the social media networks often share pictures and information about breaking news before major media outlets are able to get the scene, and accuracy regularly pays the price.

Even online newspapers and television news reports are often slower to report than are blogs and social media, but for good reason. Reputable news media outlets take the time to make sure their information is vetted and accurate before releasing it to the public.

Meanwhile, bloggers will rush to report a story before checking the facts, caring more about pageviews for ad revenue than about reporting a quality story. Even when the story is not urgent, the quality of online content apart from major news outlets is often lacking.

“Now, often there is no professional editing, no filter through the eyes of trained journalists and it is just a deluge of information,” Korn says of many social media news sources. “This information is often inaccurate, misleading and sometimes defamatory.

“There is no governor on this system, no professional curation,” Korn continues.

Many websites offer what is called “news aggregation.” Basically, they provide a summary of a longer article by a respected news provider, with a link to the original content. Several blog conglomerates make millions of dollars annually on this news model, while generating no original reporting of their own.

Often, the bloggers add their own spin on the story. They may use an exaggerated headline to lure in viewers, or distort the facts to make the story seem more outrageous and more likely to be shared.

Impartial reporting is rarely prioritized; instead they favor injecting the writer’s opinion into the story. Unlike respected news outlets like NBC, which discloses its connections with Comcast and other major businesses when reporting on them, Steven W Korn notes that websites unaffiliated with major networks or newspapers rarely disclose their potential conflicts of interest.

While a few studies have suggested that news aggregation sites may direct more viewers to the original, high-quality reporting they crib from, the practice is still cause for concern. Most readers do not click through to the more accurate, thoroughly reported pieces, leaving them with a distorted version of events.

It may seem like there are more sources of news than ever before. But many of those sources are focused on an agenda, notes Korn. Websites espousing one political view, or focused on humor or gaining page views than presenting accurate, professionally reported work abound.

While the majority of young people acknowledge that the credibility of social media sites is questionable, 43 percent of Millennials say that they believe social media to be an accurate source for news. Though more likely to read their local newspaper’s content online, 60 percent of Millennials say they believe longstanding print media content to be trustworthy.

There is some evidence that speed is beginning to trump accuracy in Millennials’s news preferences. Thirty-three percent of those asked said they would rather be the first to know a story, even if it is “occasionally inaccurate.” Of those surveyed, 30 percent said they get their news from aggregation sites, making them the most popular source of news for the under 30 crowd.  Twenty-one percent use Twitter the most. Only four percent reported printed newspapers as their primary source for news.

“I think there is a vast difference between multiple and diverse sources of news, and a gushing torrent of information that is often inaccurate, where opinion is often presented as fact, and accuracy is not the highest priority,” warns Korn. “Confusing the later for the former cheapens public discourse and ultimately hurts our democracy.”

The Millennial generation is consuming the news in far different ways than their grandparents did. Change is likely to continue its rapid pace. Steven W Korn sees a need for more education among the younger generation, aimed towards teaching them how to discern quality reporting and demand it of their preferred news sources. Then, he says, we can be assured that young people are accessing the information they need to make wise decisions and be leaders in the future.

This post is sponsored by NHQ.  All opinions are 100% my own.