It is no secret that print newspapers have been struggling for awhile now. With dwindling circulation and reduced consumer need, many have had to consider the future, and whether or not there will still be a market for print publications. Online availability of news has made consumers stop and consider the pros and cons of print subscriptions, and quite frankly, the pros aren’t taking the lead. From a consumer standpoint, the majority of large newspaper companies offer at least as much information online for free – sometimes more – so why pay to get it at your door? And really, newspapers are big, cumbersome to read, and outdated. Where’s the incentive?
Like I said though, this is all old news (no pun intended). The real, less talked about fear is that future generations won’t have an interest in news at all. That not only would destroy the news industry, but would threaten the state of the nation. An article from the American Journalism Review, Beneath the Tattoosexamines this problem, but luckily there seems to be hope for the future.
The article is based on a Pew Research Center study that basically details the average Millennial from head to toe. The study defines a Millennial as one who is currently aged 18-29, or born between the years of 1980 and 1992. Over the next year, the oldest of this generation will be celebrating their 30th birthdays. The article seeks to answer if this also means the onset of their maturity, as it did with previous generations. Possibly, but there’s a catch. Even if these Millennials start to “grow up”, researchers still expect no change in technological habits. Millennials state that the biggest thing that separates them from other generations is their use of technology. With their laptops, iPhones, BlackBerries, Droids, and iPads, these tech-savvy consumers have little intent to sit at a table with a newspaper and nothing else. In fact, only 24% of them cite newspapers as their primary source of news.
However, there is an upside. Compared to other generations when they were the same age, Millennials are more likely to vote, more likely to be civically engaged, and better educated. Sounds like a group of people who would like to keep up with news to me. In fact, it sounds quite far from the self-obsessed, video-game playing bums they’re stereotyped as. So maybe the future is not in such bad hands, after all. Now it is just a matter of seeing if the news companies can keep up!