Hey, Baby Boomers: We R’nt Entitled, We R Stupid!

29 Apr

Alls I needs to know is this city is delicious. News shmews!

by Kristen

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

3. Call of Duty: Modern Necessities 
It was my generation (at least the older part of it) that created and used Napster, a free file sharing site for music. When the Law Man shut it down and told us to pay, we did. Granted, illegal file sharing is still a major problem in today’s internet, but we Millennials are buying things we care about online. We purchase music, pay for video streaming, and participate in the growing eBook industry. If we valued NYT reporting, we’d pay for it. The truth is, we spend 40% of our internet time on three activities according to Nielsen ratings: social networking, playing games and emailing. Buying stuff isn’t our #1 priority, but we pay for things we care about (and journalism doesn’t make the short list).

Scoreboard: Entitlement= 0, Stupidity= 3

4. 140 Characters Killed the Journalism Star
When looking at news online, the majority of people use two to five different website and 65% aren’t loyal to any one. In this sense, my generation is cheap (but at least we are reading some news). Sure, the content on NYT might be superior, but we are faithful to nothing other than our will to barely be aware. Plus, those articles have too many words. According to The Atlantic, the majority of users on Twitter are between the ages 26-34. Our attention span has decreased while our sense of urgency to know what is going on, for free, has increased. Y’all win this one.

Scoreboard: Entitlement= 1, Stupidity= 3

5. Unsurprisingly, We Can Name Dopey
In the United States, according to Newsweek, 63% of young Americans can’t find Iraq on a map, 20% think the sun revolves around the Earth, and more than 75% could name two of the seven dwarves while less than 25% could name two members of the Supreme Court. We aren’t bright. With such beliefs, the only paper we need is the paper bag out of which we are huffing our glue.

Scoreboard: Entitlement=1, Stupidity=4

In conclusion, not paying for news content online has little to do with being cheap or having a sense of entitlement. So get it right, Baby Boomers! Based on the numbers, the majority of us just don’t care. We are an apathetic generation, embracing change but not knowledge. We were once your future and, unfortunately, we continue to lead the way. If you think these stats are frightening, you should check out the next generation. I’d like to nominate: Generation Huh?

Kristen is neither a journalist, nor a statistician. Her interest in and argument about this subject is based solely on irritation at being told by elders that she has a sense of entitlement. She will now return to playing Scrabble on Facebook. More by Kristen, please… 

Pew’s Report on Generations and Technology
Pew’s Report on News Consumption
NYT article about apathetic youth (2007), if you subscribe, natch
NYT Reader Demographic Report (2009)
The Atlantic’s Breakdown of Facebook/Twitter Users


Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Kristen, Pop Culture, Top Fives


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “Hey, Baby Boomers: We R’nt Entitled, We R Stupid!

  1. Joel Johnson

    April 29, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Finally. Someone with the guts to take on Big Boomer.

    • tyrannosauruslists

      April 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      Please! Don’t even get me started on “The Greatest Generation.”

  2. tyrannosauruslists

    May 2, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Great post, Kristen. I also think the NYTimes is over-valuing their work. I nearly paid for an online subscription after my monthly allotment of free articles ran out mid-month (I did save one free article, in case of emergency), but the cost is higher than 5 news magazines I get, put together! Also, I know they use my logged-in status on their site to track what I read, and then target me with suggested articles and targeted-advertisement. Why would I pay for that?? Especially when places like the Guardian and Daily Beast (Newsweek) are free still… We’ll see how long this paywall lasts! We should do a poll on that one… (Kristy)

  3. Apograph

    May 7, 2011 at 10:11 am

    The Generation Gap

    “The older generations of the bourgeoisie have nothing to offer the younger ones because they have nothing in the first place. All their standards are hollow, all of their riches are consolation prizes, not one of their values contains any reference to real joy or fulfillment. Their children sense this, and rebel accordingly, whenever they can get away with it. The ones that don’t have already been beaten into terrified submission.

    So how has bourgeois society continued to perpetuate itself through so many generations? By absorbing this rebellion as a part of the natural life cycle. Because every child rebels as soon as she is old enough to have a sense of self at all, this rebellion is presented as an integral part of adolescence-and thus the woman who wants to continue her rebellion into adulthood is made to feel that she is insisting on remaining a child forever. It’s worth point out that a brief survey of other cultures and peoples will revel that this ‘adolescent rebellion’ in not inevitable or ‘natural’.

    This perpetual rebellion of the youth also creates deep gulfs between different generations of the bourgeoisie, which play a crucial role in maintaining the existence of the bourgeoisie as such. Because the adults always seem to be the enforcers of the status quo, and the youth do not have the perspective yet to see that their rebellion has also been absorbed into the status quo, generation after generation of young people are able to make the mistake of identifying older people themselves as the source of their misfortunes rather than realizing that these misfortunes are the result of a large system of misery. They grow older and become bourgeois adults themselves, unable to recognize that they are merely replacing their former enemies, and still unable to bridge the so-called generation gap to learn from people of other age groups…let alone establish some kind of unified resistance with them. Thus the different generations of the bourgeoisie, while seemingly fighting amongst themselves, work together harmoniously as components of a larger social machine to ensure maximum alienation for all.”

    pg. 49
    Days of War
    Nights of Love


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: