Opinion: Rise of the millennials | PostIndependent.com

Opinion: Rise of the millennials

Ben Rogers
GJ Free Press Columnist

Over the last year or so there has been a lot of talk about the rise of the millennial generation and what that will mean for our world and our businesses.

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, according to the Pew Research Center a millennial is anyone aged 18 to 33. They are characterized by the fact that they grew up with computers and have not had to adapt to new technology because, well, they were born with it.

This generation includes everyone from recent high school graduates to young adults starting careers and families. They are the people who have always had a computer within reach and a cell phone in their pocket. For them instant access to the information is the norm.

Depending on the reports you read, this generation is either the laziest of all time or one of the most risk taking, entrepreneurial and idealistic generations in existence. Which kind of explains the whole situation.

To me it sounds like folks are just a little scared about what the next generation will bring to the table. Will they work hard? Will they buy new things? And what will they do with their lives? I bet we’ll find this generation is about the same as everyone else.

For newspapers, and media companies as a whole, we have been fighting to understand this age group to better communicate with them. From my standpoint it is pretty simple. If you want to reach them, provide the information they want, when they want it.

What this means is that we need to change the way we look at producing content. We should not be force feeding our viewers, listeners and readers; instead we should be opening the door for communication and providing resources for engagement on their own time.

Newspapers have always done this. You read us when you are ready. You might pick up your copy in the morning, and then not read it until later that afternoon. And that’s OK. Or for many of our readers they pick us up on Friday and read us over the weekend, then keep in the loop with our stories all week online and through social media.

Bottom line, we need to shift from just giving you the news and instead make news a two-way street. We invite you, the readers, to tell us your interests. What do you care about and what do you want to read?

What does this mean for the Free Press? It means we will continue to be your community paper and provide you with content you want, when you want it. That’s the beauty of our format. Whether online or in print, you can choose.

So are millennials really that different? As one myself, I don’t think so.

Ben Rogers is general manager of Grand Junction Free Press Weekly. To contact him, email brogers@gjfreepress.com.


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