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Panpa Bulletin : August September 2007
46 PANPA Bulletin August-September 2007 It's the morning of Monday, 30 July and some nervous students are hurriedly pushing papers and hitting laptop keys in one of the modern offices at the Fuji Epicentre in the south of Sydney. In one week, these Charles Sturt University journalism students will present their 'newspaper of the future' concept to around 400 newspaper people at the annual PANPA conference. Today is a rehearsal to a small audience including PANPA CEO Michael Richards, AAP's Editor-in-Chief Tony Gillies, and CEO of News Digital Media, Richard Freudenstein. Their presentation is riddled with script errors and technical glitches. The final product requires some further preparation, but Messrs Richards, Gillies and Freudenstein think there is plenty of meat in the content. The group has essentially taken apart the characteristics of Gen Y that relate to media consumption and developed a newspaper model to cater for these traits. They provide a unique insider perspective on their generation and depict the chal- lenges and opportunities newspapers face to capture them as an audience in the not- too-distant future. A week later, Lucinda Carter, David McCowen, Emma Partridge, Louisa Rust and Victoria Ziarkowski deliver a polished presentation to the delegates. The result is a challenging, invigorating, borderline controversial session that be- comes one of the talking points of the 2007 conference. Generation Y profile The first half of the presentation delved into the psyche of Generation Y, based on research conducted by the students with snippets of their own experiences and tastes. Their findings were highlighted by a short film of a 'typical' Gen Y character who puts forward his views on news values, brand trust and the boldness of Gen Y's attitude. If anyone wants their eyeballs, they are going to have to work extremely hard for them. Here is what the students had to say: "We are typical in many ways of the generation we are here to profile for you today. None of us are more than 22 years of age but between the five of us who prepared this presentation we have already visited 27 countries and a good deal of Australia. Between us we speak 3 languages as well as English. "We consider the typical member of generation Y to be brash, confident, opin- ionated, technologically savvy and media selective. "The information we have comes from readings and our own surveys, but mostly from personal experience. We aren't just relating the experience of others. This is us. We own iPods with thousands of songs, have myspace accounts with hundreds of friends and fully expect to have about five different careers before retiring at 40, millionaires! "To a certain extent we gauge our social status by how many friends have -- and the more we have the more accepted we feel. Internet social networking sites give expres- sion to a lot of our tribal social behaviour. "They reflect our obsessions with our- selves and our friends. It is all about MY photos, MY travels, MY friends, MY job, MY hobbies, MY big night out. In truth we are becoming our own celebrities. "We have a range of technologies avail- able to us that make it easier to stay in contact with one another. Hence we have extensive friendship groups often defined by technology rather than geography. "Mobile phones, myspace, email and MSN messenger have become the pri- mary communication between myself and friends. When not face-to-face, I am now likely to interact with my peers through a text message or myspace 'comment' than actual conversation over the phone. "We get bored quickly, make decisions quickly and have endless options with our careers, breakfast cereal and music choices, With everything, including our media con- sumption, we want it 'lite', tight, and right now. "We are a technology savvy generation. It's not that we all have an exaggerated inter- est in IT or computers, it's because it's all we've ever known. We don't have these things taught to us, we just ... know. "Despite our dependence on technology, weseeitasatool. We use technology for work and play, but our lives aren't ruled by it as much as en- twined into it. "The best way to describe our media consumption is impatience. We are the technology generation that wants instant gratification. We know what we want, and we want it quickly. We are swamped with choice, which makes it difficult for us to concen- trate on anything for too long. "While we are vaguely interested in news, both national and international, we are not interested in paying for it. What the future holds...and Y Resident PANPA Gen Y Brett Taylor was in touch with the CSU Newspaper of the Future project from its conception to its culmination at the PANPA conference, and he re ects here on its journey with extended excerpts from the presentation itself. The model the students proposed to capture the elusive attention of Gen Y young readers