July 17, 2009

15-year-old stuns media execs, readers stunned that execs were stunned

Well, I thought it was a funny story, anyway: the tale of 15-year-old Morgan Stanley intern Matthew Robson, and the media report (his, actually) heard 'round the world.

See, the precocious young'un wrote up a note about how he and his little buddies consume (or don't, as the case may be) media, including such observations as "teenagers do not use Twitter," and that he and his peers "cannot be bothered" with physical newspapers. Well, Robson's supervisors liked his report so much that they sent it out to their biggest clients -- who, apparently, were floored by the teen's frank analysis.

In my post, I wrote that it was impressive the kid demonstrated both the initiative and the stones to pen such a blunt, honest report, and asked any teen readers to do likewise. The response was interesting: teenagers were happy to oblige, flooding my inbox with hundreds of e-mails. Adults, on the other hand, took me to task for essentially asking teens to survey themselves, allowing freeloading advertisers watch and learn. (Indeed, I "should be castigated," according to one angry reader.) Another recurring theme from the comments: How stupid were Morgan Stanley's clients that they were stunned by such "obvious" observations as "teens don't read newspapers"? Well, I guess they've got a point there.

Also this week: The recession finally hits the video-game industry; the editor of the Financial Times predicts that "almost all" newspapers will be charging for online content within a year; New York City will spend a million bucks over the next three years for, uh, typewriters; and "Real Racing" just might be the hottest iPhone game I've played yet.

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