The generational transition

The future of journalism is a topic at the forefront of media related discussions. In March 2014 “New York Times” columnist David Carr and Bloomberg Media chairman Andrew Lack discussed how new technology is revitalising the media. Making it more interesting and engaging rather than less. It was refreshing to hear Carr and Lack optimistically discuss how digital technology is part of the media’s natural evolution. Generally speaking the reception towards some new media technologies and ‘millennials’ from older generations hasn’t been warm, but criticising the next step and the next wave of workers isn’t exactly unheard of…

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Millennials (a.k.a. the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. As the next generation begins to infiltrate and dominate the workforce there always seems to be some resistance from the previous generation, as can be expected. I believe some of the negativity surrounding the future of journalism has to do with this resistance (of course it may only be a small factor). In 1968 a Life cover story said 20-somethings would never understand making a living. In 1976 Tom Wolfe, for New York magazine, referred to the 70’s as the ‘Me’ Decade. While millennials have been titled ‘collaborative, determined, and a multitasking group’ a May 2013 Time article labelled them as ‘Generation Me’.

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Bruce Tulgan, an expert on young people in the workplace, states that ‘media jobs are a good fit for millennials’. He notes that they have learned to think “inside the information environment” and are far more familiar with digital mediums than their predecessors. Millennials are entering the workforce at a time when the production of media is more prominent than ever before. Tulgan states that millennials have developed exceptional research and media production skills at a younger age, making them ideal journalists for new media models (i.e. Facebook and Google)The traditional media model, seemingly predominated by Generation X, still clings to the idea of periodical premium content. This is becoming more and more irrelevant with the immediacy of real time content. My optimistic view (I would like a media job someday please) is that while this transitional period may be tough on working millennials, the outcome could be a tech savvy and convergent communications industry primed for our strengths (fingers crossed).

Like Lack mentions in this video, old media and new media are old terms. The walls are coming down and changes are occurring… its all part of the medias ‘natural evolution’. With any revolution there is going to be resistance and there are going to be challenges. We have seen this before and we will see it again. I am certainly excited to witness and experience these changes for myself… c’mon millennials!

Do you think media millennials can shift traditional legacy media into a more dynamic and convergent future? Do you think millennials have the power to reboot an inherited world in decline? The campaign below aims to inspire millennials in the US to create a change for their future, does it inspire you?

References –

Forbes Magazine – http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/04/21/are-millennials-just-gen-x-with-hipper-clothes/

NYT’s David Carr on the Future of Journalism – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPlazqH0TdA

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “The generational transition

  1. This is a really interesting post Leah. I too am someone who acknowledges the power and force behind the millennials. Think about what these digital natives could do. And I believe they will shift traditional legacy media into a more dynamic and convergent future. Like I said in my post, perhaps they will mould the future into the golden age of journalism?

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