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Maybe it’s a “good thing” that young people are following the news less 7/16/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in News habits.

An article in today’s NY Times raises an alarm that teenagers and young adults are following news less than ever, with the implicit assumption being that, of course, this is a bad thing. But, is it really?

Are their lives better or worse for focusing more of their mental energy on their private lives per Thomas Jefferson’s “pursuit of happiness” rather than on what news has become, the latest on the machinations of government? Do our politicians do a better job when they respond to the twitches in the popular mood as they react to daily events vs. their more tempered reactions over days, weeks, or even multi-year election cycles which, after all, are the most critical timeframes for citizen decision-making? Does our polarizing news of government provide them with the best social lubricant for conversations with others as they build relationships and communities? And, if much of news consumption has always been just another form of entertainment, is it a bad thing that our teenagers and young adults now have more choices, some of which, albeit not many, might even be more uplifting, inspiring, and educational than the news?

But actually, it is simply not true that young people are getting less news than ever — they’re just getting less of what the journalism community calls “news.” Social computing sites like Facebook and MySpace provide news of family and friends, and we have not yet begun to see the coming revolutions in hyperlocal news and niche news for vocational and avocational interests. So, let’s all take a deep breath, let our young people lead the way in this new age of news and information, and not be shocked years from now if we learn that we have produced America’s Greatest Generation.


1. News for young people « Richi’s Weblog on Communication 660 - 10/5/08

[…] found an article,”Maybe it’s a ‘good thing’ that young people are following the news less ” in The Future of News. As New York Times says , less young adults and teenagers are […]

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