Brian Who? Millennials Change Channels on Tradional Media

Story by Noor Alahmadi, Editor in Chief

Young viewers move away from network news and tune in to on-demand and citizen sourced news while consumers ponder traditional notions of journalistic integrity

Brian Williams’ fall from grace revealed the younger generation’s shift from traditional media toward online news outlets.

While NBC’s 30-and-older demo- graphic wonders what they will do without their beloved anchor, many younger viewers don’t seem con- cerned.

“I don’t know who Brian Williams is,” Valeria Montoya, an ACC physics major, said. “I read news through sources like the New York Times’ online website, a TIME subscription, and blogs I keep up with on social media such as Tumblr and Twitter.”

Appointment television, where people watch a show at a specific broadcast time, is giving way to push notifications and website checks, Paul Brown, assistant professor of journalism, said. “I think the days of people watching network newscasts, in terms of the younger generation, no longer exists.”

Constant updates to online information provide faster, easier and perhaps more entertaining ways to receive news. Many newspapers publish content online before their papers are printed, while Twitter and Facebook make it easy for just about anyone to become a citizen journalist.

YouTube has allowed those without formal journalism training to create news broadcasts such as The Philip DeFranco Show and SourceFed.

Now that news is no longer exclusively in the hands of journalists, this new generation of news providers and consumers must decide whether the old standards of journalistic ethics and accuracy apply to online media and bloggers.

“Unlike traditional journalists who face repercussions from their networks, the repercussions for YouTubers and bloggers comes from their audience directly,” Logan White, an engineering major at ACC, who does not watch network news, said.

With numerous sources vying for attention, do audiences value sensationalism over accuracy?

This may be the very question Brian Williams asked himself after being suspended for embellishing accounts of his war-zone experiences.

The Williams’ scandal was highly publicized. However, if the prized 18-33 year old demographic isn’t watching, maybe the importance of journalistic integrity is losing ground.