Delivering the News to Millennials: Challenges, opportunities –

Mobile devices like the Iphone allow users to get news and information on the go. (Photo File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike)

By Freelance Contributor, Vyvyan Lynn

While Generation X and Boomers may shake their heads and reach for a playbook to guide what Morley Safer recently referred to in a 60 Minutes segment as the ‘coddled generation,’ into the workforce, approximately 80 million ‘Millennials’ or members of  Gen ‘Y,’ whose birth years span roughly from 1977 through 1994 are set to overtake boomers in population size by 2015.

Tech-savvy groups are now making tsunamis in how businesses reach out to the huge demographic, news distributors are scrambling to keep up, taking note of where the demographic spends Internet hours.

Sites like ‘,’ among the most frequented by Millennials, offer comic relief, and while entertaining sites are good stress relievers, their popularity also sends a message to news distributors.

According to Barry Hollander, University of Georgia professor at the Grady School of Journalism, ‘’ is so comedy specific that it will not play a role in how young adults get their news, rather he says, “Something that mixes humor and news, like The Daily Show, is a more likely source because it gives the sense of being informed, like sugar with your medicine.  Whether these are empty calories is debatable.”

Hollander sees paper as prehistoric to Millennials. “Part of it is technology and part of it is the way newspapers present the news in a linear, logical (though not to millennials, necessarily) fashion. Part of it, for newspapers, is just the way stories themselves are told, the third person objective approach, inverted pyramid,” says Hollander. “It just doesn’t ring true to the Millennial’s ear, who are also largely unresponsive to the same news presented in an online format, which suggests it’s more than merely paper.”

Grouping demographics for advertising does not offer a full picture of the diversification within a group. Hollander sees Millennials as ‘grazers,’ and adds, “Their exposure to news is haphazard, selective, and focused highly on their interests. On the other hand, you have students that are news junkies or political junkies.”

Co-founder Nathaniel Ru (27), of Sweetgreen organic salad shops, with 12 locations in the DC-metro area, says he looks for news sources that fit his busy lifestyle. “I’m an Apple junkie and get all my news via iPhone,” says Ru. “Sites I view regularly, or get feeds from, include Lucky Peach, MonocleFader Magazine, and The New York Times.”

Ru looks for information relating to his business as well.  “About 80-90 percent of my news comes from mobile news services, but restaurant industry trades are another issue. Most of them are print only. My one guilty pleasure reading in print is when I travel to New York. I enjoy flipping through various tabloid newspapers. Books on the other hand, I always read in print. I don’t use a Kindle or an iPad for books.”

Craig Meister (30), owner of Tactical College Consulting, a college admissions consultancy, obtains news via the Internet. “I am always on the go, so I don’t have time for television news or the patience for newspapers, which are usually out of date by the time I get to them. I also find that the Internet is the only place to find news representing the full spectrum of perspectives. I am particularly fond of  Google News, Drudge Reportand BBC News.”

Millennials are not the only demographic with busy lifestyles. According to Hollander older students, and adults are slowly evolving to Mobile news.

“The exception is when a major story breaks,” said Hollander. “That’s why CNN’s numbers go so high then; people flock to a trusted news source. But for day-to-day, more and more of us are starting to look a lot like Millennials.”

The Tybee Times, © Vyvyan Lynn, 2012

Related News Topics: Digital news is heading for a mobile future –

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