Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Another dissection of the "millennials"

But it's in the New York Times, so folks are starting to really take notice.

What's interesting is that anyone who has been listening (and we began to get this message at a convervence seminar for educators at Poynter two years ago) is starting to understand that the social network is what is driving news, overall media and even major lifestyle choices among this generation.

This idea of "social media" is where, I think, a lot of news sites still don't really get it, still pontificating more than conversing and providing relatively few tools for users to incorporate the sites into this social network (although that is improving). Other evidence: Too many of my colleagues/fellow journalists still freeze up at the sight of a "you" in a story (or even an occasional "I"), and at a question lede that works -- just because it is a question lede.

We've got to get away from these shibboleths and start asking not "Is this allowed?" but "Does this work?" to tell the story to the audience we want to reach.

(No, copy editors need not go throwing themselves off tall buildings -- that's not an invitation to throw out our "standards" or "style," but to adapt it as necessary and to do it rationally, not by fiat.)


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