Remove a Video, Remove a Demographic

Millennials won’t stand for the putting up then taking down of online published material. They’ve matured in the EFF, Ed Snowden, Wikipedia era where transparency is the default and demanding it doesn’t take a back seat to waiting for power brokers to come to their senses because they’re losing money.

Yesterday I wrote about why we care and why it matters that the Northeast Ohio Media Group (“NEOMG”) took down a video, which it had previously published and publicized, of its gubernatorial endorsement interview with the Ohio Governor, John Kasich, the Democratic challenger, Ed FitzGerald, and the Green Party candidate, Anita Rios. Because I can be marginalized in ways so as to make ignoring me seem reasonable, it’s important to look at how the millenial generation, upon whose shoulders our region often places its hopes, shows a different story for a news outlet trying to go digital.

For one thing, it’s bigger than my generation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that there are 80 million of them, “the largest cohort size in history.” However, they are cynical as hell.

From a Harvard summary of Brookings Institute findings:

Millennials score lower than any other generation in terms of believing that people can be trusted, and that that cynicism rose in the years following the Great Recession.

They have a strong expectation of transparency and desire for feedback:

Millennials want to know much more about the companies they work for and become skeptical when they are kept in the dark about important decisions and discussions.

And a strong desire for honesty and authenticity:

They seek out the opinions of their friends or past product users when needing product recommendations. Millennials want brands that reflect their values, and what this generation values the most is transparency, honesty, and authenticity. And may we remind you and they do not respond positively to the traditional marketing methods because traditional marketing just doesn’t communicate these values. It’s just not working.

When it comes to politics, watch out. Not only do pundits point to millennials as key to overcoming partisanship, they won’t wait their turn – we know how much traditional power brokers hate it when that happens. From National Journal:

Millennials are “not shy about being empowered,” said Rich Cooper, a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who added that, young people are demanding more accessibility and accountability from the institutions they interact with.

And, most importantly, when it comes to the millenials and who they trust for their news, it’s not looking good for those who disregard the importance of building, maintaining and honoring trust:

Information gathered through user-generated content is trusted 40 percent more than information from other media – including newspapers and magazines. Millennials also find user-generated content 30 percent more memorable than other sources.

And hey – it’s going to be a lot more memorable if you leave it up.

Besides umpteen sports stories related to a spectacular first game experience – as opposed to the game itself, how will a legacy news outlet attract readers who live in the digital dimension when that outlet demonstrates disregard for the expectations of digital news consumers?

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