Education, jobs take precedence over reading news for millennials

News flash: Millennials are the least interested news-consumers. Except, that’s not news, nor does it come as a surprise to anyone who reads that.

Yet, it’s an idea that crops up in common discourse with as much frequency as the Illini football team loses conference games. The Pew Research Center released another study that proved what we already know: Younger generations follow the news substantially less than older generations. In The Daily Illini report about the study, one University student said, “I find the news to be rather annoying.”

Just like these studies are.

Millennials are in the prime of their lives; put another way, we’re busy. College is not easy. Although the U.S. economy is healthy again, the job market still is not that friendly, and finding a job is the No. 1 priority. So much so that we put off marriage and families until our late 20s and early 30s. 

Millennials can’t afford to pass time reading Harry Potter, but the media industry continues to assume they’ll have time to read the news more than an hour or so a day.

Millennials don’t have the time because they are consumed by the most important economic decisions of a person’s life: choosing their course of study and finding their first job. 

Given the gravity of the major life decisions a student makes between 18 and 25, it’s absolutely no surprise readership is down.

As we millennials age, we will consume the news more often, just as every generation before us has done. Still, with the flood of information that bombards everyone each day, it would seem that millennials would naturally consume the news.

News readership decline has been an ever-present fear for decades, yet today there are more media outlets in print and online than ever before. Several sites, like BuzzFeed, Gawker, The New York Times and USA Today, encourage reader interaction, asking them to share their thoughts through text, photo and videos.

The amount of information available to readers today is greater than ever before. But, the availability of news is certainly not the problem.

In August, Business Insider’s editor and CEO Henry Blodget said we are in the “golden age for journalism” — newspapers may fade away, but the proliferation of available information escalates. And we’re sharing it in ways we never have before.

We share what matters to us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr, all of which contribute to the new frontier for news consumption. We may now only consume 140 characters of the news, but it’s a far-cry better than not sharing anything at all.

Because the news has become so social, even among millennials, there is more public accountability for media makers. 

You need to look no further than Reddit to know that our generation is intensely engaged in holding the media to accurate reporting.

Millennials, like the generation before and the generation before that, will continue to read the news, and they will begin to do it more as they age. But, for now, tomorrow’s midterm is a bit more of an immediate and pressing issue. 

Give us a few more years: We’ll conquer tomorrow’s newsworthy problems with more vigor than ever before.