Five at 8 – 2/24/10: Confident, connected, and open to change

1) “Confident, connected, and open to change.” Sound like anyone you know? If so, he/she is probably 18-29 years old, according to a survey this morning from Pew Research. My favorite result: They are less likely to be “religious,” than any other generation, but they pray about as often. What does this mean? That they’re cutting out the middle man?

Oh, and they don’t identify by a work ethic:

Of the four generations, Millennials are the only one that doesn’t cite “work ethic” as one of their principal claims to distinctiveness. A nationwide Pew Research Center survey taken in 2009 may help explain why. This one focused on differences between young and old rather than between specific age groups. Nonetheless, its findings are instructive.

Nearly six-in-ten respondents cited work ethic as one of the big sources of differences between young and old. Asked who has the better work ethic, about three-fourths of respondents said that older people do. By similar margins, survey respondents also found older adults have the upper hand when it comes to moral values and their respect for others.


Where do you fit in? You can take the Millennial Quiz here. A conference on the findings is being held in Washington this morning. You can follow along via Twitter.

Let the generational debate begin!

2) Who needs a shot in the arm? Casket makers, according to the Wall Street Journal. Insert your own joke about business is dying here.

Part of the problem is people like Marc Kruskol, a 52-year-old publicist in Palmdale, Calif. He doesn’t want a casket burial regardless of how strong the economy is, he says. When he dies, he wants to donate his organs and be cremated. Traditional burials are a waste of cash, he says. “It’s like taking a bag full of money and burying it.”

No casket makers involved in the survey, but Minnesota manufacturers seem less dour, if not out-and-out sunny, according to MPR’s Annie Baxter.

Last year, nearly a third of executives anticipated decreases in revenues, profits, and capital expenditures for 2009; that number dropped to 15 percent. In last year’s poll, 23 percent of executives surveyed expect the coming year to bring boosts to their gross revenues. Twice as many had such an expectation this year. The survey also found that a third of respondents expect their gross revenues to jump in excess of 10 percent this year.

3) In Colorado, a gunman walked into a school and started shooting kids, until a hero teacher tackled him. That’s not the story. This is the story: These stories are no longer considered newsworthy enough for the front page of the country’s major newspapers.


4) The Navy announced yesterday it would allow women to serve on submarines. Close quarters don’t get any closer.

5) I’ve written about the Herbie Project before but this newly aired story has two of my favorite elements in it — reporter Steve Hartman and an old man.Here. Have a tissue.


Former Congressman Jim Ramstad is going to work for Hazelden Treatment Center as a senior policy adviser. In a statement released Tuesday he called addiction to alcohol or other drugs “America’s No. 1 health problem.” How has addiction affected you or your family?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Do our friends make us fat? Is our neighbor’s happiness contagious? The authors of the book “Connected” say ‘yes.’ They join Midmorning to discuss why social networks play a powerful role in influencing our ideas, emotions, and health.

Second hour: Google CEO Eric Schmidt has declared that smart phones are “an extension of everything we are.” High-tech gadgets are becoming more personalized than ever before. Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens analyzes the trends.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Pulitzer Prize-winner Tom Ricks talks about his book “The Gamble: General Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq.”

Second hour: Award-winning Minnesota history author Dave Kenney on his new book about the Boy Scouts called “Honor Bright.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: NPR political editor Ken Rudin considers the Texas Tea Party.

Second hour: Assassination as a tool of state policy.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – The run-up in gold prices has unleashed a frenzy of selling by consumers. There are even gold-selling parties built on the old Tupperware model. MPR’s Marty Moylan looks at the phenomenon and asks whether consumers are getting ripped offh.

MPR’s Elizabeth Baier has the story of a prairie restoration project in southern Minnesota that will use “snow seeding” to help sow the seeds of native prairie plants on a section of land.

From NPR: A school district goes looking for missing laptops issued to students. School

officials remotely activate the computers’ built-in web-cams, and capture images of some students in their families’ homes. It’s a case of technology, privacy, and now a federal lawsuit. Here’s the story (via CNN).

Chris Roberts talks with Jim Walsh, aka “The Mad Ripple,” about his new CD, songwriting, and why he’s turned himself over so completely to the life of a musician.

  • Nate

    I got a 78/100 on the Millennials quiz. I’m 28, so it’s maybe not as high as some.

    On a different topic, I think what’s sad about the story is the fact that the school shooting wasn’t just in Colorado, it was in Littleton, the same place as Columbine. Some obvious differences, but why that small town? There’s definitely more to that story.

  • Nate

    p.s. The new mobile site for MPR News Q looked really nice. It doesn’t load as fast as the old text-only site and it’s one more click to News Cut, but that’s fine. Your graphic above came through this morning, so that was nice.

  • justin

    81/100 for me. I don’t really think of myself as a millennial, mostly because I think the word is a joke and the whole pigeonhole is created for half-hearted news stories.

    The religious thing is very interesting, though. Maybe a generation of people growing up hearing about Pat Robertson and the double-facedness of mega churches is having an effect. I think what the study is saying, in essence, that people are staying just as spiritual, but not as religious. I think this can only be a good thing.

  • Al

    \\My favorite result: They are less likely to be “religious,” than any other generation, but they pray about as often. What does this mean? That they’re cutting out the middle man?

    I cut out the middle men when I figured out just how hypocritical many of their policies are. This strikes me as one of those details the Catholic Church failed to consider when it built top notch educational instutions, both K-12 and university level. They do an outstanding job of teaching people to think critically. However, many of the doctrines and rules are utterly illogical and don’t withstand critical thought.

  • Nate

    Here’s a question:

    Regarding the “Being a good parent” and “having a successful marriage” as the top two items. Are those a reflection on the amount of single parents that raised millennials? As in, the millennial generation wants to make sure it has a marriage without divorce/separation and a two-parent household? Something he/she perhaps didn’t have?

  • Kim E

    This is so funny. My Millennial score was 13/100. I was born in 1985.

  • Jim!!!

    Three cheers for caller “Jim” (not me) during Midday 2nd Hr who took the BSA to task for their bigoted stance on gays and non-religious people.

    I find it odd that MPR would use a book about the history of the Boy Scouts as a promotional gift.