Sunday, November 15, 2009

Changing Journalism: How Young Generations Consume the News

Over recent years, we have seen journalism changing at a fast pace with the media transforming into the digital age. Not just the news organizations are changing the way they interact with the public, but also the way the public consumes the news these days is changing, as well as how young generations face news differently compared to older generations.

Like Mindich says, the studies show that a generation’s news habits need to be taught early. Encouraging the young to read news is important, especially when these young people become adults. When reading news becomes their habit, they will pay more attention to what is going on around them, which builds in them a sense of deep citizenship. This lets them make the right decisions about holding leaders accountable by engaging in a deliberate process that can go deeper (Mindich).

For this to happen not only journalists, but also the educators, need to get involved with young people and encourage them to consume news frequently in order for it to become their habit. Also, it is important for journalists to build them a sense of trust with the young Americans. Nowadays young people are deeply and rightly suspicious of the rising sensationalism in the media (Mindich). To gain the trustworthiness back from the public, journalists should try harder to take on a watchdog role, providing a dependable Web forum where people can gather to distribute information (Howe). The fastest growing type of social networking and news consumption for the young people that is effective today is through news organizations’ blogging as well as the posts and the updated news stories online.

Among the many social networking tools growing today, one good example is Twitter. It is the mobile messaging utility which allows the media fans, the columnists and news producers to share their thoughts with each other by sending short questions, comments and updates of up to 150 characters (Emmett). I believe that Twitter is the best way to persuade young generations to approach the news with interaction and a critical mindset, or to “talk back.” Unlike traditional news, where it is time consuming and hard to comprehend, Twitter is fast and young people are able to share their thoughts freely. It also gathers all the ideas together just like a public forum.

The primary idea of new types of media networking achieves journalism’s goal of setting public thoughts to come together. What the journalists need to remember when doing Twitter and other types of Web social networking is all the principal elements of journalism. Also, the journalists’ goal not just to write the news, but also what they really want to do is to engage in a conversation and make a qualitative public forum (Howe). We as journalists should be open-minded toward new types of media networking and also be responsible about how we use it.


  1. I agree with you on how journalists should use social networking websites to persuade younger readers to be informed. But Facebook is another networking website that a lot of news organizations use to reach out to younger readers. Whether it's posting on a particular journalist's wall about an article the person wrote or becoming a fan of the news organization such as CNN; it's a way to get noticed and possibly engage in a qualitative public forum.
    You also mentioned that journalists need to remember the elements of journalism as they use the social networking sites. If journalists do this, maybe they can create a better concept of a marketplace of ideas on the Web and keep younger readers informed as they partake in the forum too.

  2. I completely agree that journalists need to be open minded about the use of the Internet and social networking sites. Whether we like it or not, these sites have established a major presence. And we've moved on from these sites just being for young people. We can now see people of all ages getting involved by using these networking tools. (My parents are on Facebook, and I know some grandparents who have an account. It's not just for the college kids anymore.)
    So yes, the younger generations are experiencing news completely differently from previous generations. Although establishing good news habits at an early age is important, this is much easier said than done. In News Editing we had to read "Tuned Out." It talks about how these young generations are so tuned out of the news. Even as a journalism student, who understands the importance of news, I find that I'm fairly tuned out. This presents a problem for journalists. It's much easier to sit in budget meetings and discuss the importance of involving a young audience and actually following through with that plan.

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  4. Social networking sites allow people to communicate and explore the interests and activities of one another in a way that makes it an extremely effective tool for sharing information, especially news.

    The ability to link stories on the Web creates a unique opportunity for news organzizations to spread their stories outside of their traditional reach.

    Instead of people saying, "Hey, did you read about such and such in the paper this morning?," social networking lets people say "I thought this was interesting and here it is to look at yourself."

    Because of this new way to share stories, I think social networking sites might help lead to a resurgence in younger generations' interest in the news. [At least I hope it does.]

  5. This is the million dollar question, how do we get youth interested in the news? I think you make a very strong point with social networking sites. Twitter and Facebook have become so popular now that almost every website, commercial and advertisement has links to these two sites. It is a great way for the media to reach out and grab the attention of a lot of young people. However, there are some drawbacks; twitter and facebook have become so huge now that anyone can post anything “newsworthy” and people will believe it. While I do think it is a great asset for media to get younger readership, I think the more these social networking sites grow the reliability factor will decrease, it will become just like any other blog or “news” website that we have now. Still if it is working now media should just ride the wave and enjoy it while it last.

  6. I believe some of our professors are trying to get us more interested in news as well. In several classes I have had current events quizzes that would count as a good part of the final grade. Even back in elementary school I remember taking such quizzes, but I'm notr sure if that is done at the same amount in this year and this time. I agree with you. But there's also a way to expand this conversation and try to figure out which social factor would work better than others. I may just be an anomaly, but I have a Twitter and hardly use it. I hardly check my Twitter at all either, so if there's news to be found there, I don't see it. Would Facebook work better? YouTube video blogs? I think it's a good question to pose for extensive discussion.

  7. I agree that is very important to teach kids at a young each the importance of news and get them involved with watching or reading it early on. I think when this is done kids are much more likely to grow up as active consumers of the news. They are more intelligent in world issues. They tend to make more active citizens. Personally I hate twitter and it is not news or journalism. It is people saying what they are doing or thinking at that moment and personally I don't give a shit what they are doing. Not news. However, I do admit they can be pretty hilarious at times.