Wandering Eye: How millennials access media, the battle over scrapping in Detroit, and more

The Media Insight Project, a joint research effort by the American Press Institute and the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, has put out a new report about how millennials access news, and it has both good and bad news for journalism's economic future. While 40 percent of the millennials surveyed said they pay for "at least one news-specific service, app, or digital subscription," in interviews some said they felt "they should not have to pay" for news because getting it "should be more of a civic right." A 19-year-old from San Francisco (Ed. note: of course), for instance, said he "wouldn't pay for any type of news because as a citizen it's my right to know the news." If long-term media profitability trends continue, this perceived right may find itself dangerously compromised. (Van Smith)

 

The New York Times has an excellent piece examining the lives of a Detroit metal man and his nemesis, the police officer assigned to crack down on scrap-metal theft and the vandalism that accompanies it. The news peg: Detroit is no longer tolerating the scavengers: "In recent years, the city has become serious about fighting back. It razed dozens of rickety homes—lucrative scrapping targets—in this neighborhood alone in the past year." So life is that much harder for Robert Jones Jr., who calls himself "Pinky" after the dull-witted mouse on the '90s cartoon "Pinky and the Brain." Homeless for 10 years, formerly addicted to crack, Jones mostly dumpster-dives now to get what he needs to live. Mostly. He still goes for metal, mostly from dumpsters. The price has fallen so there's less profit in it anyway. The piece could have been written in Baltimore—and in fact it was, nearly 20 years ago, when David Simon profiled "Kenny" and "Tyrone." "Now, with so much of the inner city's physical plant reduced to empty brickwork, city housing officials are beginning to confront the disaster," Simon wrote in 1995. In Detroit, in 2015, Sgt. Rebecca McKay works to shut down guys like Pinky. "It's not even so much about people going to jail as it is with the state of the city right now," she tell the Times reporter. "Sending the message to these people that this isn't going to go unnoticed anymore." (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

It's no secret the NFL has a problem with its players suffering head trauma and the way the league has handled the whole thing. Numerous studies have shown that the brutal collisions in football can lead to the early onset of neurodegenerative diseases and result in depression and memory loss. In the darkest moments, former players have committed suicide and left their brains intact so they could be studied by scientists. This is all fairly well known, and yet record audiences still tune in every week. For its part, the league has only made a few minor rule changes while looking deeper into the matter and gone to court with former players before reaching a $765 million settlement. But a new milestone was reached yesterday when 24-year-old Chris Borland, a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers who was poised to become a star, announced his retirement after only one year in the league because he didn't want to face the risk of multiple concussions. "I just honestly want to do what's best for my health," Borland told ESPN's "Outside the Lines." "From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk." If more players like Borland make a similar choice, the league has a whole new set of problems to confront and stands to lose its position as America's most popular sport. (Brandon Weigel)

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