Commentary

Mobile millenials

Junior High Journalism Day brought buses of students to campus today. In one of my sessions I brought to the students' attentions how overwhelmed they are with media today.

While I teach at the high school workshops during the spring semester and summer, I'm always surprised by the junior high students' responses to questions like "Who has a computer at home with high-speed Internet?" and "Who has a cell phone?"

While I didn't keep an exact count, I saw more hands raised for the cell phone question than the computer one.

OK, I can't hate: I had a pager. Why? I don't know. That's 2 years at $10/mo. I probably owe my parents.

Today I also asked in follow up, "Who has a cell phone with mobile Internet?" I was taken back by the response - about one-third of the class - sixth to seventh grade level - said yes.

No iPhone users among the group, if you're curious.

I can't wait to market to a world of these guys when they're college aged.

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My point to the students?

"You need to be writing and designing newspaper and yearbook pages with enough substance, style and flair that it captures the attention of your reader over a text message from their friend. If nothing else, you want them to be so interested that they read the text message and have enough curiosity to go back to what they were reading."

Somewhat of a tall order, I know. But as they say: if you want to catch a criminal, you've got to think and act like one.

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