Millennials Still Consume News, Just In Different Ways Than Older Generations

How and if Millennials consume news has been a hot topic in recent months, especially following a study on this subject from Paula Poindexter, a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin. She recently released a book titled Millennials, News, and Social Media: Is News Engagement a Thing of the Past?, in which she boldly declares that young people do not make it a priority to stay informed because they feel that the media talks down to them, comes off as propaganda, or is just plain boring. This definitely isn't the mindset of the Millennials we know and has left many members of Gen Y frustrated. This prompted Bryan, one of our Youth Advisory Board members, to write a rebuttal discussing the changing ways in which his generation consumes news.

Millennials Still Consume News, Just In Different Ways Than Older Generations

TwitterMillennials are often criticized for not consuming news, being uninformed, and lazy. However, I don't think these harsh statements, many of which were discussed in Paula Poindexter's study, accurately reflect my generation nor address the changing ways in which young people consume news.

Her research briefly touches on, but fails to really explore, the idea that Millennials are still getting news. It’s just not in a “traditional” format since youth typically get their news from smartphones, the Internet, and TV. However, to me, this seems like youth are getting news from mediums they use most frequently, rather than saying young people aren’t interested in news at all because we don’t buy the paper or sit down for the 5 o’clock news every day (who has time for that, by the way?)

Touching on the idea that young people dislike traditional news because of “garbage, lies, one-sided, propaganda…” is the emergence of sites like Reddit, where articles…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“Art is basically my job and I enjoy it so much.”—Female, 15, MD

Snap is making its “biggest move” in scripted original content, teaming up with NBCUniversal and the Duplass brothers for their next series. The Duplass-owned creative studio Donut will produce original series for Snap shot in vertical video. NBCU and Snap will also be opening a joint digital content studio focused completely on mobile-first entertainment, “formaliz[ing] their partnership” and putting Snap firmly in the producing/original content creation camp. Snap’s mobile-only approach is part of a movement to shake up how we view videos—in fact, they’re calling their offering “a fundamentally new medium.” (THRTechCrunch)

Eggo frozen waffles are capitalizing on their unexpected Stranger Things’ fame. The brand has seized the marketing opportunity of being a part of one of Millennials & Gen Z’s favorite shows, tying themselves into Netflix’s Super Bowl ad, creating a special toaster for select fans, and swarming New York Comic Con with people dressed up like Eleven armed with “watch party kits” (aka “waffles and a microwavable syrup server”). To prep for the premiere of season two of the show, Eggo is sending out a fully-loaded food truck for the red carpet premiere, and going all out on social media to connect with fans. (MediaPost)

More teens than ever have severe anxiety, but why? The American College Health Association found a 12% increase in undergrads reporting “overwhelming anxiety” from 2011 to 2016, and several studies concur that “there’s just been a steady increase of severely anxious students.” Social media is part of the problem—constant like-monitoring and cyber bullying isn’t helping the most stressed generation to date. There’s also an increasing (and constant) perceived need to over-achieve. One psychology professor observes, “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college.” (NYTimes)

Ypulse research has shown that 88% of Millennial parents are trying to avoid helicopter parenting—but they might not be able to help it. The constant media storm of global atrocities and everyday stories of parenting gone wrong combined with advertisers’ willingness to fear-monger, results in a generation of (understandably) anxious parents. It doesn’t help that the tech to constantly monitor kids is easily available (albeit pricey)—from drone surveillance meant for the military to devices that track “blood-oxygen levels all night long.” One relationship therapist sums up, “Everyone is having a hard time drawing a line and just figuring out what’s reasonable versus what’s over-protective.” (Refinery29)

Brands are turning college students into mini-sales forces. Aerie, Victoria’s Secret Pink, and Express are just a few of the many brands that have a program for college campus reps where students receive swag, experience, and other perks for helping bring brand awareness to their colleges. Though brands don’t always require social posts, most ambassadors do share their swag on social, bringing organic ads to their friends’ feeds. The biggest draw is that social posts from reps “[come] across as natural, authentic, a product that they would normally use or want to talk about.” (Racked)

“[Celebrity] can mean anything nowadays and it's a rather diluted term; from YouTube star, to someone on Instagram with millions of followers, to reality TV dopes, etc.”—Male, 30, WI

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