COLUMN| GUESS AGAIN, GRANDPA!: Who says millennials don’t keep up with current events?


[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen I tell people that I don’t read through physical newspapers on a regular basis, it comes as a surprise to most. Yes, I know that you’re reading an article that was written by me inside something that is indeed a newspaper.

My grandfather and I had this discussion the other day, and it quickly became heated. He is the kind of person that reads his newspaper every day with breakfast, scouring through the news sections with typical looks of disapproval. His objections toward the events of the day carry into discussions with my parents. Usually, I idly listen until he brings me into the discussion, asking what I think about various issues.

There were some issues that I had opinions on, but most of the time I was indifferent. I’ll admit that my indifference is my responsibility — I don’t read newspapers often enough to be able to follow major stories that are going on in the world. However, that doesn’t mean I am out of the loop.

This is where my grandpa and I had our disagreement. He swears by newspapers, relying on print media as his window to the world. He constantly laments the consolidation of newsrooms and the death of print. For him, the advent of social media is a slap in the face to traditional newspapers. On top of this, he feels that, despite the fact that we as millennials have more access to news through social media, we really don’t take advantage of it. We just skim over headlines and don’t make an effort to learn more.

Here’s the thing: I am constantly bombarded with news. Seeing as social media has become such a big part of millennials’ lives, news corporations needed to come up with more creative ways to engage the younger audience. Being able to post and share news articles on Facebook has made it easier for millennials to see news of the day — a study by the American Press Institute in 2015 found that 88 percent of millennials get their news from Facebook. Other notable sites for news are Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit.

Grandpa constantly laments the consolidation of newsrooms and the death of newsprint.

The point that my grandfather makes about not engaging with the news is one that I disagree with completely. In this society, there are many more opportunities to receive news, and it’s much easier for us to find answers to the stories that we follow, as long as we make an effort to do our homework.

Social media has cluttered the millennials’ news media landscape. However, despite the massive flux of news stories and new corporations that proliferate on our timelines, there have been some steady trends of news consumption by millennials.

A study entitled “Generation News” by Newsworks and the University of Bath in England found that “74 percent [of millennials] turn to newsbrands to get a balanced point of view,” and a further “78 percent agree their newsbrand introduces them to stories they wouldn’t otherwise read.” With various news brands engaging on Twitter, not only are younger demographics exposed, but they are able to follow updates right from the moment the story breaks.

The biggest benefit to this model of news is that it can enable real-time followings of stories, as opposed to waiting the next day for a full recap in the newspaper. By the time the story hits print, people would have already read and reacted to it. In a digitized age where everything is quick and fast, maybe this is the solution that news needs to keep up with the millennial age.

So, Grandpa, get back to me on your debates about the pipeline and the current state of Middle Eastern politics. I promise I’ll look beyond the headlines and read the stories.

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