Radio, TV and Media experts got a wake-up call at a Radio-TV News Association (RTNA) “State-of-the-Industry” workshop last night (April 27, 2016) focusing on “Millennials”. “If you want to target the Millennials, you have to go to them said Keynote Speaker Britt Hysen, founder/editor-in-chief of Millennial Magazine. The magazine was named one of the “top 100 Most Influential Digital Media Sites for Millennials,” by the White House. According to the Pew Research Center and U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials, whom we define as those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, jumping ahead of the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69). And Generation X (ages 35-50 in 2015) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028. “Millennials are so bombarded with information they need a break, and if you want to get their attention, you need to go to them on their platforms,” said Hysen.
Hysen said the Millennials watch Youtube, Snapchat, Periscope, Reddit.com, Facebook Live, and Twitter to get their info, and she said they want lifestyle news, short raw stories, real human emotions, inspirational stories, and posts, but 50 percent of Millennials also want hard news. Hysen also noted the younger audience wants less celebrity news. The RTNA media panel also included Moderator Frank Mottek, host, KNX Business hour; Bill Dallman, V.P. & News Director, CBS2/KCAL-9; Paul Glickman, senior editor, KPCC Radio and Judy Muller, USC Professor.
Bill Dallman, V.P. & news director, CBS2/KCAL 9 offered TV and radio newsrooms advice about hiring in TV industry jobs. “Don’t hire interns to do your social media, because you need an intern for each social media channel,” he told the RTNA event audience. “I have a lot of job candidates who want to work in the TV news business and some don’t even own a TV. All media outlets need to hire more Millennials.” All panelists agree the younger generation bring cultural and technology skills right out of school. Many have become citizen journalists. USC Professor Judy Mullen said she started a new journalism class on “critical thinking skills, where students analyze articles for logic and sources.” She also said she consider naming the course, “Detecting Crap.”
“The Millennial audience is the magic bullet that we don’t have, “said Dallman at CBS/KCAL-TV. “We thought we had a situation where people growing up were our best allies, that they would want more TV news as they got older, but now we have all these apps such as smartphones, IPad, apps, computers and the Internet. Now, it’s a much bigger battle.” Thanks to the Internet and technology, TV and Radio stations have been forced to adjust making everything that goes over the air is also online. “The Internet was supposed to kill us, and it didn’t,” said Dallman. “It made us stronger, but the phone apps might kill us as we see Millennials always looking down at their phones.”
Dallman was asked about new trends where celebrities are interviewing newsmakers like Actor/Directors like Sean Penn interviewing a Drug Lord El Chapo, and Spike Lee interviewing Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders.
“I think everyone is trying to get into the media, they want to be producers, for example, Basketball Star Kolby Bryant wants to start his own production company, and they all want a piece of that pie because that’s where the influencers are,” he explained. “They want to own the company that creates the media. It’s a natural progression for people who have been on that side of the camera most of their lives to want to be on the other side.”
The biggest shift in the news and media business shows that Millennials want to be part of the conversation and love audio apps like Soundcloud, but the newest hottest online trend is podcasts. “They do want to be part of the conversation,” said Paul Glickman, senior editor, KPCC, which is one of the first in the country to offer Podcasts of their on-air news and programs. “Millennials are the prime demographic for watching, reading and listening to the news,” said Britt Hysen. “If you don’t attract those who are in their 20’s and 30’s right now, who’s going to be watching, listening and reading in the future?” Hysen noted that some of the biggest misconceptions about Millennials include being, “lazy, entitled, disenfranchised, and superficial, which is true of any generation,” she said.
“At Millennial Magazine we dispel all those misconceptions about Millennials,” explained Hysen. “We’re promoting the unsung heroes, the social impact, wellness articles, the ‘How to’ stories and cultural trends of this generation. Millennial is a media lifestyle brand showcasing global millennial influencers that reflect the habits of a conscious consumer – eco-friendly, globally connected, experience driven, and entrepreneurial,” she said. “From celebrities involved in causes and CEOs disrupting industries to activists standing up for their beliefs and everyday people making a living doing what they love are the types of stories we publish.” The magazine is only online now, but they’re searching for a partner publisher to help them provide a printed magazine option. An interesting note unveiled at the RTNA workshop at the Beverly Hills Library auditorium, is the fact that many people who read Millennial Magazine are not Millennials. If you agree or disagree with these opinions and observations by the media panelists feel free to weigh in with your comments below next to the G+ button.