Amy Bowers TV Talk

"Teen 2K"

"We're the generation doing the shooting," my thirteen year old told me.  "People are waiting to see what happens next."

Last spring, when high school students killed their classmates at Columbine, I asked my daughter whether she felt safe at school.  Yes, she felt safe because, "no one at my school would do that."

One season and several massacres later, including a school shooting in our state, the class of 2004 no longer feels safe: "Be careful when the fire alarm is pulled," they warn each other.

As Teen 2K watches its collective back, we watch them, and don't know what to expect. Perhaps we haven't really noticed them yet. And if my kids are any indication, they aren't really noticing mainstream journalism.

My teenagers don't get their information from broadcast news or the newspaper. They dislike the anchors and the reporters, and criticize the story selection that "all seems the same." They characterize the newspaper's limited copy space as "stock market reports, and barely any good entertainment" pieces. Every morning they ignore the TV in the kitchen while I watch the Today Show, Good Morning America, or MSNBC.

My kid's primary source of news is Channel One, a daily news show produced for and distributed to secondary schools around the country. They have "interesting stories, cool music, young reporters," and they even run amusing commercials. They cover the world's top stories and the world, and they run portraits and opinions of young people.

Teen 2k are information consumers. They are on the Web, they watch TV,  they absorb music, culture, science, and literature. They see themselves on television when their classmates go on a rampage. They bubble through our culture, easily intrigued, radiant with energy, ready to create an identity.

"People don't know what to expect from us."

I sure as hell don't.

Amy Bowers

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