Millennials couldn't care less about the news.
That's according to the research of University of Texas at Austin journalism professor Paula Poindexter. Young people do not make it a priority to stay informed because they feel that media talks down to them, comes off as propaganda or is just plain boring, Poindexter found. They also think most news media do not cover issues important to them.
Some of her findings for her new book, “Millennials, News, and Social Media: Is News Engagement a Thing of the Past?", include:
- Most millennials give the news media average to failing grades when it comes to reporting on their generation.
- Millennials describe news as garbage, lies, one-sided, propaganda, repetitive and boring.
- When they consume news, millennials are more likely than their baby boomer parents to access news with smartphones and apps and share news through social media, texting and email.
- Most millennials do not depend on news to help with their daily lives.
- The majority of millennials do not feel being informed is important.
Is this a problem? Poindexter worries in the future no one will be consuming the news, which is a citizen's duty to some.
"We can’t continue to ignore the problem," Poindexter said. "The older generation is dying out. Who will be the role model encouraging future generations to be informed?"
The Pew Research Center has shown young people overwhelmingly get their news from the Internet, and to an extent from television. Among the various age groups, 18-29 year-olds are the only group to show a significant difference in what type of media they prefer.
Poindexter's book lays out more than two dozen best practices for news coverage on millennials, according to a release. Poindexter also created a course titled “Journalism, Society and the Citizen Journalist,” which she hopes will address young people's disengagement.
“The news media, journalism schools and all stakeholders who care about having an informed society in the future must get involved if we are to avoid becoming a nation of news illiterates,” Poindexter said.
The Daily Texan, the UT student newspaper, reported on the issue and cited one of their columnists, Douglas Luippold, who agreed that most media don't serve the needs of millennials. The Texan also spoke with UT journalism senior Jena Cuellar who pointed out an article from the New York Times, which begrudged millennials for moving in with their parents after graduating college.
"The [media] is belittling us and talking down [to] us," Cuellar said. "They're not ignoring us, but they're not making us feel good either."
There's no shortage of Times articles proving his point.
One asked "Why are so many people in their 20s taking so long to grow up?" An op-ed called millennials the "Go Nowhere Generation."
Several articles were run this year about recent college graduates moving back home, citing a statistic which PolitiFact rated as false, but not before Karl Rove's Super PAC ran an ad blaming the "boomerang generation" on President Obama. Contrary to the claim repeated by CNN, Time and others (admittedly including The Huffington Post at one point), that 85 percent of recent grads moved back in with mom and dad, the actual rate is closer to 40 percent.
Michael J. Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, pointed out on the Times' website a rate of 40 to 45 percent isn't bad at all compared to historical census data.
If millennials truly do feel spoken down to in the media, it's no wonder so many claim to get their news from comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.