witf Blog

For this Millennial, public media is a perfect fit

Written by Colette Clarke, Interactive Producer | Aug 16, 2013 9:56 AM

This is where I get my news, and public media is right there with me.

I'm 31, so when Pew Research Center asked me "How Millennial Are you?", I wasn't too sure. I've never been clear on whether I was a Gen X-er or Gen Y-er, and frankly, I've never really worried about what label society wanted to assign me all that much. (Which I'm pretty sure nudges me over to the Gen Y camp.)  Being a sucker for Pew quizzes, however, I decided to find out. I mean, if Pew cares, I should care, right?

As it turns out, I'm pretty darn Millennial. 92% to be exact. (If that's really the case, then I'm not quite sure how to account for all the flannel and Quentin Tarantino films in my youth.)

As someone working in public media who has just verified that she's a Millennial, I have to say I agree with TPT's Andi McDaniel's piece "Public Television? That's so Millennial."

Pew asked if I've watched more than an hour of television programming in the past 24 hours, and I had to confess with some shame that I did. But you know where I didn't watch it? On a regular TV channel at a regularly scheduled time. My fiancé and I watch content on our TV in pretty much every non-traditional way possible. We have Chromecast, a Raspberry Pi set up to stream content, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Playstation, and a DVR. We stream to our laptops, our iPad, and our phones. We watch content on TV while using our laptops, iPad and phones. Despite what you might think, admitting all of this is not a taboo for someone working for a PBS and NPR affiliate. With witf, I can stream almost all PBS, NPR and local programming on my computer and phone. If I had a Roku (I knew we were missing something), we could stream it there too. witf, NPR and PBS have YouTube channels I can bring up on any device I choose. PBS Digital Studios, in particular, has YouTube content geared just for me.

Next, Pew asked me if I read a daily newspaper in the last 24 hours. This one gave me pause. Do news websites and Twitter count? If they do, then of course I had. I keep up with local and international news online pretty much every waking moment. I decided they actually meant print, however, and had to answer no. I honestly can't recall ever seeking out a print newspaper that didn't have my school's honor roll in it (nerd alert!) at any point in my life. However, if they had meant do you follow witf news updates on Facebook and Twitter, and do you tune in to NPR and local news on witf FM in your car and then switch to the stream on the witf app when you leave the car, then I would have had to say yes, absolutely.

They wanted to know if I've contacted a government official in the past 12 months. Yes. Yes, I have. And do you know why I have? Because witf keeps me up-to-date on the local issues that affect my everyday life. witf content helps me to become a better informed citizen that is engaged with what is happening in my community and in the world. It makes me passionate enough about what is happening to take the time to write an email, to vote.

Have I created a profile on a social network site? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+. I have a profile on each one. Do you know who else is also there? witf, NPR and PBS. Following these organization on social media helps ease the constant flow of ill-informed political opinions, ridiculous photos and personal meltdowns. Honestly, they help me keep my sanity while I browse these networks.


I streamed this Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes Austin City Limits concert from the witf website on my laptop.

The study that Pew based the quiz on found that "Millennials are on course to become the most educated generation in American history." It should follow that this generation would be interested in content that speaks to them intellectually and artistically. I can't stand reality TV. I have never watched "American Idol." Not once. You know what I can get in to, though? Austin City Limits concerts, Independent Lens documentaries, Radio Lab, Radio Smart Talk, and Whad'Ya Know?

I may not have children yet, but my fiancé and I are getting married in a just a couple of weeks, and if we find ourselves blessed enough, we will hopefully be experiencing the joys and tribulations of parenthood within the coming years. It comforts me to know that witf is here when that time comes. I am worried perhaps more than I should be about my future children's screen time and the content that they engage with. When I do allow them to watch a bit of TV, it will be PBS Kids content that they watch. When they are allowed a short period on the iPad, it will be PBS Kids apps that they use. Someday, I will bring my own little ones to the numerous childhood education events that witf hosts each year.

I am proud to say I work at witf as a Millennial. It is truly an exciting time to be involved with witf, NPR and PBS. The Pew study found that "Millennials are the most open to change of any generation," and I believe without a doubt that is also true for public media. witf and public media engage me no matter what platform I am on with content that stimulates my mind and doesn't insult me, and I know as I continue to grow and change and raise a family of my own, that I can trust that content no matter what device I might be using to access it.

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