I tire of my parents’ generation (the “Younger Boomers,” born between 1955-1964) telling my generation (the “Millennials,” born between 1977-1992) that we have a sense of entitlement about free online content, especially in regard to the New York Times paywall. It makes my generation sound cheap and stupid, and I would like to argue that we are mainly the latter. Based on how we spend time on the internet and what we are interested in, we were never going to buy the digital NYT. I care about my mom, a journalist, and about the decline of engaging content online, yet I think her generation has some misconceptions about mine. I am not enthusiastic about this argument, but regardless: We don’t buy the NYT mainly because we are moronic, not because we have a sense of internet entitlement.
1. Fancy City Newspaper Say Wha?
The NYT wants you to believe that the majority of readers are young. In 2009, they reported their readership’s largest age group as 25 to 54. But once you unclump the ages and make 25 to 35 a separate category (and therefore about 16% of readership), the largest readership is actually ages 50+ (at about 37%). The Pew Research Center found only 17% of the population reads a national newspaper like the NYT. That means my generation’s interest makes up 16% of that 17%. I’m no mathemagician, but that isn’t a lot of Millennials. The point is, the majority of us weren’t reading it anyway, and we certainly aren’t going to start with the paywall.
Scoreboard: Entitlement= 0, Stupidity= 1
2. If by “News” you mean “Weather”
The #1 news subject we are looking for online? At 81%: the weather. We literally only care about the world around us, in so much as it is made up of air at a certain temperature and humidity which allows us to continue to play video games and mouth breathe.
Scoreboard: Entitlement= 0, Stupidity= 2