Digital sites continue to be the primary source of news for young adults, but users of online-only news sites don’t feel as informed as those using sites affiliated with traditional media, according to a survey among readers and followers of Elite Daily, a major destination site for millennials, and analyzed by the Millennial Research Core, the research arm of The Agency (a unit of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications).

More than half of young adults who prefer traditional news sites said they were “very informed,” a rating chosen by only four out of every 10 who prefer online-only news sites. Yet online-only news is the primary source of news for nearly 35 percent, compared to 22 percent for traditional news sites.

Overall, 38 percent of respondents felt very informed vs. 59 percent who said they were somewhat informed. A small percent responded that they were not interested in current events or civic issues.

The small group that cited print newspapers as their primary news source felt most informed (67 percent).

About 56 percent of those whose primary news sources are traditional media Web sites felt very informed followed by online-only (40 percent), search (33 percent), links from Twitter (32.5 percent), broadcast TV (32 percent), all-news cable channels (29 percent), links from Facebook (24 percent) and other social networks (15 percent). About 35 percent of those who cited “other” sources felt very informed.

“Even though the overwhelming majority of young adults are turning to digital sources for news, there is still a perception by some that they are better informed through traditional media,” says Diane McFarlin, dean of the UF College of Journalism and Communications. “Still, legacy media—including newspapers, broadcast TV and cable news—face significant challenges in attracting this demographic.”

The survey also asked which social issue is most important. For 18 to 24-year-old men, protection of the environment was most important and for women, by far, equal rights/equal pay was the most important. Men felt more strongly than women about only one issue: immigration.