It was the day that Prince died. Take Two was on the road at California State University, Fullerton for a special show dedicated to all things millennial. The 170-seat Titan Student Union Theater was eerily quiet. Staff members huddled around smartphones trying to confirm the news, everyone refusing to believe Prince was dead. With word from base that the rumors were true, a chorus of "Prince? I don't believe it" echoed around the empty hall, before the team turned back to the work at hand. In a little under two hours, we had a show to put on. Would anybody come?
Strolling through the halls, Take Two producers found students slung over comfy chairs, reading, chatting and writing papers. Any tears? Don't think so. Outside, life bustled in the court yard. People shuffled to class. Anyone playing a Prince megamix on a loud speaker? No. The show would go on.
Millennial Matters took months to put together, but why do it? Generation Y - that's anyone born between 1982 and 2000, according to the Census Bureau - is the largest population in the United States, at around 83 million. Millennials are also the healthiest, most educated and diverse collection of people in the nation.
They also have a bad reputation in the media. Entitled and self-absorbed are two of the kinder descriptions to make it into a news story.
Here's KPCC's Steve Proffitt and Hettie Lynn Hertes with a few samples of millennial vitriol posted in the New York Times, Vanity Fair and Vice:
Speaking with sources from KPCC's Public Insight Network, combing Take Two's contacts for guests and inviting millennials and other "Gen Y adjacent" individuals to KPCC for lunch, it became clear that the persistent media image of lazy, tech-obsessed twenty-somethings was not accurate. Producers heard from people making the choice to stay home to look after younger siblings, foregoing college. Many shared stories of working two or three jobs — even with a master's degree — to survive in one of the most expensive regions in the country. Others spoke of their dislike of social media — yes, it's true! And even more wanted everyone to know that millennials are interested in politics and are concerned about the state of the world.
Of course, the men and women of Generation Y come from different backgrounds with various life stories. Here's first-generation college student and millennial Diane Reyes talking about her experience: