In 1990, the Times Mirror Centre for the People and the Press (now a Pew Research Centre) released a report called “The Age of Indifference.” Drawing from survey data in the U.S., this report concluded that the young generation of the early ‘90s knew less, cared less, and read newspapers less than young people in previous decades. The study warned,“Their limited appetites and aptitudes are shaping the practice of politics and the nature of our democracy.”
To all my fellow millennials out there, I have to ask. Sound familiar?
Concern with youth news consumption dates back at least to the mid 1970s, and some suggest even earlier. It continues to this day, and is especially present in debates on social media and whether increased connectivity among youth populations necessarily means we’re more “informed.”
I guess it was around my fourth year of journalism school when this notion that “kids don’t care about the news” really started to interest me. As I’ve mentioned, I used to be a kid’s news reporter, and on that job I met so many informed, interested young people who seemed to prove that these concerns were just part of a moral panic fuelled and fanned by the mainstream media themselves.
But I also wondered if those young people, or my news-junkie friends in journalism school, might be the exception rather than the rule. Continue reading