One Size Does NOT Fit All
8:45PM Jun 22, 2021
Thank you so much for joining us today I'm Ashley Alvarado, a proud new ONA board member and Vice President of Community Engagement and Strategic Initiatives at KPCC LA in Southern California. My pronouns are she/her and I'm what's horribly referred to as a geriatric millennial. We're here today because for the first time in history, there are five generations in the workplace. And, as so many of us have felt, the impact is more pronounced in journalism as resources shrink and organizational hierarchy flattens. What kinds of challenges does this present for today's newsroom? How do generational workforce differences affect our ability to manage people effectively? Today, I'm joined by three awesome journalists. I can say awesome because I'm a millennial, to talk about this and to field your questions. Their bios are sassy, which is how you know I didn't write them. George Stanley is editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, president of the News Leaders Association, formerly ASNE-APME. George is a middle Boomer, which is different from being an early Boomer or late Boomer. OK, Boomer. Beena Raghavendran, whose pronouns are she/her, is engagement reporter at ProPublica, Director of AAJA LA's Yung....AAJA...I'm used to adding the LA in Los Angeles...Yung's professional network and a 2021 ONA MJ Bear fellow, focusing on news accessibility for communities with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She's also an amateur playwright, she wrote and this month starred in a performance of a virtual one-woman play. Bina is a late millennial. Imaeyen Ibanga, whose pronouns are she/her is a fellow geriatric millennial with a skincare routine of Gen Z-er, who taught herself how to hula hoop and do headstands during the ongoing panorama. Yes, that's the word she uses. She's also presenter, documentarian, and senior producer with AJ+ in the process of creating her brand new film documentary show from scratch. It'll debut in autumn of 2021. That's this year, I think. Prior to AJ+, Imaeyen produced tech stories, social media and breaking news video stories during her 10 years at NBC News, CNN and ABC News. We'll do our best to save 15 minutes at the end for questions. As a mom with a first grader, I'm also always okay with shouty outies, they just need to come via the chat function. So to go ahead and just dive into the questions since we only have so much time, George, I wanted to start with you. You've been a working journalist since 1979, you've had an opportunity to work with different generations of journalists. How would you compare and contrast, and what are the behaviors, expectations or needs that need to show up with each?
Well, I think, you know, all generational talk...it's all generalities, and they don't really apply to any particular individual. You grew up in an environment, and that does create certain expectations and thinking of ways. I think each generation that I've experienced, is, for example, more aware of the failures of the past. And more aware of how far we didn't get. There's a great quote in President Obama's new book from a minister who talks about Obama's generation, which is my generation, being the Joshua generation for Black people in America and his generation, which was the Martin Luther King generation being the Moses generation ... that the Moses generation helped lead the people out of slavery, but the Joshua generation will lead them into the promised land. And I think every generation sees that we still have a ways to go and that's what we're dealing with right now. That we still have a ways to go and sees that we didn't get as far as we thought we did. I think baby boomers thought they got much farther than they thought they did -- my generation and our elders -- much farther than we thought we did. And now we realize we didn't. The past year has really made that crystal clear, the past five years has really made that crystal clear. So I think it's good. I think this is good. It's good to have these discussions because we all learn if we're listening. I'm also a big fan of the millennial generation. I know that that isn't always the most common thing. But I noticed in the early 2000s, our interns just kept getting...that we just got the best interns and that has continued through this whole process with brilliant interns with passion and really feeling of justice and really wanting to make the world a better place. And the other thing that never comes up about the millennial generation that should more often I think, is that they're the ones that have been fighting the war on terror for the last 21 years ever since 9/11. That never comes up for some reason. But I think there's millennial leaders, and there's people out there that have experienced many of things, the so-called "great generation" experienced and the Great Recession, like the Great Depression, these wars that have been fought by young adults in America that really have tested people, and they've come through and I think that I have great optimism in that generation.
Thank you. So Beena and Imaeyen, you can answer in whichever order, I mean, you can throw elbows, you can do whatever you want, whichever way you want to go. But so how are you seeing in your work, how are you seeing different generations interacting with each other?
Imaeyen, you might want to take it first?
I was saying do you want to take it first, but I can do it. So I work at an organization, which is a lot different. *crash sound* I'm sorry ... than a lot of other newsrooms in that my organization is very young. And so, you know, I guess technically we do have someone, maybe one or two people who are baby boomers, but you're essentially dealing with Gen Z, majority of people are probably millennial and like a few Gen Xers and zennials, like somewhere in that space. And what I have found, especially working in some of those other places that Ashley so kindly mentioned earlier, is the difference in perspective, not only in what we should cover, but how we should cover and how we begin to discuss those things. And one thing I want to highlight, I love that George said, first of all, shout out for him for loving a generation that has been forged in trauma, which we do not recognize. Okay, thank you. But also just like how within that generation, there are different parts. Us geriatrics, it's very different -- what was required for us, the things we had to go through -- is very different than people who are at the younger end of the generation, I think, align much more in terms of editorial idea and strategy with maybe a Gen Z, because of what was and wasn't allowed, and how you were allowed to dictate your space and self in the world. Imagine being an older millennial, and someone like me, who's a first generation African American woman, as opposed to if I had been born in 2001, which would put me in the workplace. That's not the same life. And I think there needs to be more discussion around that, because I do think both sides have very relevant things to say, which sometimes don't get heard. And I do wonder between all of the generations as part of this, and this is something I've been thinking about for the last two years, I don't have an answer. So maybe y'all will. How much of this tension between generations is: I experienced newsroom trauma when I came in and was young -- the hazing, the staying up all night and doing everything and so I now expect the same of others, instead of trying to make the space better, more functional, more inclusive.
Go for it, Beena.
Yeah, well, plus one to all of that. And both of you and kind of the timelines that you're constructing are sort of making me relive my own experiences as a later millennial, I'm a '90s baby. So either on the cusp of Gen Z, or like solidly millennial depending on which timeline that you're using. But I mean, one thing that I think about when thinking about how to have these discussions at work and how to foster a community of peer partnership where everybody's learning from one another, I do sort of default back to my engagement reporting background, which I know Ashley can relate to and is a huge champion of because this whole engagement reporting philosophy is like treat people as the expert of their lived experience. And so when I can come into my own newsroom or work with my partner reporters or work on other teams, like sort of with this philosophy, I think I've had really good experiences, whenever I kind of frame it as everybody's experience is really valid and valuable. And it doesn't matter necessarily how young or old you are, like, there are all things that we can learn from each other. So kind of coming into that philosophy and discovering that is a thing that I've really loved. But like, yeah, a total plus one on just the vast diversity within the millennial generation. One other thing I'll add is, I think that I've seen this in I think, the "Sincerely, Leaders of Color" feature on Open News just discussed how folks have different reference points, not only depending on when they were born, but also kind of how they were raised. So my parents immigrated from India to the US in the '80s. And then I was born in the '90s. And so I feel like I also have just a very different set of references and a different set of almost like observing history and, and observing some of the same things that have happened, as compared to some of my other colleagues who might also be like fairly early career millennials, who may also be AAPI journalists. So that's also something, that's like a headspace I'm trying to bring to the work to is like, even if we are the same generation, like, we probably also have a lot of like differences that we can think about how to embrace in the workspace too.
My sister, and I always joke about whether you're a millennial who types out haha, if you settle for an lol or if you're gonna come in with an emoji. And that's just like one way to illustrate the differences. Beena I want to stick with you though, because as director of AAJA, I'm not adding the LA this time -- Young Professionals Network. How will you think about the generational differences? How does that inform, either help or challenge, upward mobility for young journalists? And then especially for journalists of color?
Yeah, absolutely. So that's also another thing that I've been unpacking, especially given the pandemic, given like the sort of slew of questions that I got, especially from early career journalists that really started to come in this time last year when, you know, a crop of folks were graduating and just like trying to figure out how to navigate the job market. And I'm really thankful for the support that I got from the AAJA network, because one of the first things that we did was, we just we like, worked our networks and just worked one generation or just almost one age group behind us, because we were like, Oh, the folks who graduated in 2008, during the recession, probably have really sound advice that they can give our members right now. And so I remember that was one of the first things that we did, we like, got a pretty representative group of journalists on a Zoom call to talk about just how to navigate times of uncertainty. And there was representation there from folks who had graduated from undergrad in 2008. And just any advice that they had, and of course, like that was such an unprecedented moment. But I think just having other people who had been through something similar as a sounding board, I think was just an immense amount of relief to my members. And also to me, frankly, just figuring out how to navigate my own sort of situation, but other like pieces of advice that I would encourage, I mean, I would always encourage that for my fellow millennials, or even Gen Z-ers, early career folks, like just ask questions, make yourself vulnerable. We have such a wealth of information from people who have weathered, maybe not the same exact circumstance, but a similar circumstance before us. And I think that's just a really good way to like build trust, build connections, and make yourself open to also like sharing some of that peer partnership. The last like thing as far as upward mobility in newsrooms, I don't know. There's like, of course, a lot of imposter syndrome comparisons. I try to never feel like I'm too young to do something. And even if that means making my own opportunities. I've done a lot of side hustles in my career already, but they're things that like, bring me a lot of happiness, and frankly, have just opened doors in different ways in my career. So that's another thing that I would encourage, just put yourself out there and try the thing. We're like in such a digital era, that doing all of that can be a little bit easier to do than it was for people in past generations. So those are just some other tips I have on upward mobility.
George, you mentioned interns before and so I wanted to come to you on this too, when you think about younger generations entering newsrooms and what are some of the things that we can either do to better support them or ... awareness that they can bring in as they're looking about growing in an organization or in the field.
I think what Beena said was really good and smart. And I think that, like in our newsroom, I know that people of all different ages and experience levels are very sharing. They're very open. And if you if you see someone whose work you admire, and you're coming in as an intern or a young staffer, I would immediately form your own mentor, pick your own mentor, choose your own mentor and go seek out that person, let them know you admire their work right away, that'll open their hearts. And then they'll start sharing with you and that can help you in your whole career, or at least until they retire, you know, that can help you a great, long time in your career because of all the people they've met over the years, I encourage all our interns to go to the people whose work they really admire, and let them know and let them -- just tell them to be interested in learning from them. And I think that's the most valuable thing you could do in an internship really, to make those kind of contacts that can help you the rest of your life. I also think that despite the differences in the generations, that the eternal things last, the most important things are true over time. And that great storytelling, exposing injustices and bringing them to sunlight, looking for best practices and potential solutions and doing that in a real skillful way that it moves people to act, those things never change. And if you do those, Beena was talking about creating your own opportunities. And it was like that too. One reason I said a middle boomer is different than an early boomer and a late bloomer is because people, the people that had the best opportunities were the people born right before the baby boom, and then the earliest boomers got the next best step. And then everything got kind of crowded, and there was not a lot of upward mobility then either. But what I've learned over time is if you do the best you know how, and really focus on those long-term truths and doing that quality work that matters, you will find opportunities. They will come to you. And there will be good people of good will, who will see what you're doing. And that you can work with. Not everybody's gonna be like that. And you might hit roadblocks along the way and have to maneuver them and like you were saying Beena, but there will be enough people that you can work with that see that light in you and that you can work with. And then will open those doors no matter where you are in this step. So I'd encourage people to look for those opportunities too, no matter even if things feel crowded, and like there's, there's too many people in the way. Keep looking, and you'll find allies, and you'll find partners, and you'll find mentors, and you'll find openings.
Thank you, I want to go to Imaeyen in part because one of the things that you said earlier and then with what Beena and George have said, you know, as a geriatric millennial, someday I'll say that without it hurting on the inside... geriatric millennial, but you know, I would say that I think that I came up with this idea that there was a ladder, we were supposed to be climbing. And in the intro to this, we talked about in the description for the conversation that organizations are flattening out, many of us are in fairly flat organizations. So having a recognition of that, and then also, what you talked about with trauma, are there things that you are thinking about specifically, Imaeyen when it comes to supporting or upward mobility? Or is upward mobility really a thing for younger journalists right now,
Thank you for being within my heart, because I literally was just thinking about this, we are the same. What I need people to understand very specifically about the millennial generation and why it's so important that we offer the distinct perspectives is that the oldest of us, imagine coming into a workforce and things do not exist. And as they begin to come into existence, you then have too much experience to get the job that you would have needed for the job that you would want next, which also does not exist. So you are literally building your career just by happenstance going along. Whereas someone like when Beena comes into the workforce right now, she's early career, so you have, okay, it's a PA, to the AP to producer to whatever. So you're essentially spending your entire working career, trying to figure out what's next but not having the ability of what George had where it was, like a little bit more stable, and things make more sense and it's x amount of years for this thing and x amount of things. And you can also track the money, which is another thing that we're not discussing, I think is very important. Because as the kids say, the math ain't mathing that's for the Gen Z crowd, the math aint mathing. So I think that's really important when we have this discussion, because what's happening with the flattening of this is that you will have someone who's been working 10 years or 12 years with the same title as someone who's been working one year or two years. And those two things don't go together. I totally agree with Beena about, right, like age doesn't necessarily mean expertise or non-expertise. And at the same time, I think one of the things that's been happening is we are beginning to devaluate, the people who have to pour in the middle. And so I would even say shout out to my Gen Xers, because nobody talks to y'all, y'all also are getting screwed and not getting paid enough, the oldest millennials, and probably even some of the youngest boomers to be honest. And what I had told this group earlier before we went live, is that part of the reason -- it's very unnatural to have all these generations in the workforce at the same time. The issue is that no one is retiring. And there's a reason that no one's retiring, which is tied to the money, which is why I think they're inextricably linked. We can't talk about generations and not talk about the financing of those generations, when we talk about newsrooms, and not just the business model, but what we're paying employees and how we support them. And so, you know, I think we need to get real and specific about these job descriptions and ideas. Another really wonderful example is, early on, millennials will remember the jack of all trades where you had to do everything, and younger millennials, and Gen Z can now specialize, right? But we're all in the same news force. And everyone in here, you know, is young enough to still have to work many, many, many more years. And so what does that mean for someone? And how do you compete? How do you make yourself relevant? So part of it is what Beena is saying about, right, accepting opportunities, you see. I'm a person who loves to fill holes that I see aren't being plugged. I think that's something that spans generations, that is a skill set that will always get you golden, right? If there's something that needs to be done, but also, and let me make this clear to the people who are watching this that are doing that. Now, that does not count if, no one is doing it, you have to be vocal and let people know you are doing the thing. So people don't think it's like some magic leprechaun doing this work. Don't do invisible labor. That's not how you get abs. It's not working. We need to see the work. And so I think, you know, there needs to be industrial and institutional discussions about jobs. We need to get specific about what it means. We need to also close these pay gaps and these scales. And I mean, not just between gender and ethnicity and race. I also mean, between what people are still deeming platforms, print, digital and broadcast, which there's only one because we're doing this conference on the internet right now. Right? So it doesn't make sense that if you do words in this space, this is your salary. But then if you're here, this is your salary. But then if you're here words are words are words, pictures are pictures. And so those are just some of my thoughts. I'm getting too spicy. So I'm going to calm down.
I am here for it. I do want to go both to George and to the to the audience next in that I'd love to ask what you wish more people knew or understood about everybody's respective generations recognizing that we do not have Gen X and we do not have Gen Z and we do not have the generation starting in 1925 on the panel. So if you're watching and you want to weigh in, please do that in the chat and we'll make sure to check that out too. But George, is there anything that comes to mind for you when it comes to -- especially in the workplace what you wish more people understood or knew about baby boomers?
No, I think what Imaeyen just said about the hard times faced by her age group added to that, when you think about it are, another reason people aren't retiring is because of health, the health insurance situation, how much that's changed in the last couple of decades where they can't retire until they qualify for Medicare, and usually the whole household has to retire for Medicare, has to qualify for Medicare before they can retire. And then, and also the great recession and what that did, oh my god, I mean, that was a depression and it was 2008. And we were only starting to recover from that before the pandemic hit. So that has had that deflationary aspect on salary throughout our industry and other industries that have been re-formulated. You know, our industry has been completely -- is still in the process of being reconfigured. But I think that what she said too, and this is where you for home, of always looking for that need that needs to be filled. Look for that audience need that isn't being met. Look for that thing that we could do to serve an audience we're not serving now. If everyone keeps that in mind, that's where every generation can really help. Because they can really find, what are my people not paying attention to? What are my friends and things? Why aren't they coming on our site? Why aren't they interacting with us? Why aren't they buying subscriptions? Oh, I know why, I listened to them. And this is why and I can do that I can, or I can help us bring that to them. So if you can find those opportunities to serve those audiences, you are going to be golden. That's true.
Before we go to Beena, I wanted to share one of the comments from the chat, which is from Mark Z. And it's just I think that Gen Z expects a more direct, collaborative and transparent relationship with their audience than the more curated and hierarchical experience that may dominate most newsrooms today. Beena, is there anything that how would you like to represent the late millennial?
Oh, I feel like the thing I was gonna say really dovetails nicely with that comment, because I was actually just going to shout out both Gen Z and older millennials, I'm not gonna use geriatric, for sort of also getting the discourse going about things that early career journalists are facing, and are kind of right in the middle of, and can't always speak out about, like, I've been following all this discourse about the like, we're just happy to be here generation, like the people who took you know, fellowships, or I don't know, other kind of temp jobs for not a lot of money and just like sort of put their head down and did it because they thought that that was what they were supposed to do. And like, that was me too. Like, I've done that I've been that person. But it wasn't until really, people started speaking out about it on Twitter. And the folks who I saw speaking out about it were older millennials, who also had been through it. But we're now in kind of a more stable part of their career where they could openly say, like, hey, these were my experiences. And this is kind of how the system perpetuates if we don't talk about it. But then I also see that pressure coming up from Gen Z folks who are like seeing all of this blow up, and they're seeing the discussion about burnout. And they're seeing all of these things on social and they're like, that's what I'm coming into? And like, that's scary for me. And we need to talk about that. So I really want to thank like, both of those groups that I feel like kind of sandwiched into for bringing those things up. And like making that a part of the discourse, because I think you're making everybody around, you realize how important these early career issues are. And you're supporting the folks who are kind of like in it, and maybe can't speak out about it all the time because of their own job security. So thank you.
May I add something to what Beena said into Mark's comment? Ashley, do you mind?
Go for it.
So what particular....and I'm going to be the eldest Boomer now, so don't hold George responsible for this, and this unpopular but needed to be discussed opinion. So what stood out to me in his comment, I think Gen Z expects a more direct, collaborative and transparent relationship is that we do not all have the same definition of direct, of collaborative, and transparent. I will say at a newsroom that is so young, I think there's fair to say, there's been tension around those three words, because there's some people who believe and now I'm not talking specifically about my company, now just the industry in general, that collaborative means that you get a say on all of the things, that is not what that means to me. Because at the end of the day, to me, somebody has to be responsible for making the decision, regardless of what we all think, like, right, the buck has to stop stop somewhere. And also, the definition of direct is direct me telling you that sentence right now, or does direct mean something else to you? And also the definition of transparency? So I do think, right, these are things that people talk about. And what it really sounds like is that sometimes when some groups talk about all the people should have all the power, to someone like me, that does not make sense. I mean, I think, ideally, a hierarchy and a collaborative, right, I think there's a place, there's an integration where both of these things can and should live that would benefit the newsroom. And what we've seen in discussions are people who only believe in this direct hierarchy, or people who only believe that you know that it's like the wild wild west, and we'll do whatever. I hope this doesn't mean that y'all will drag me on Twitter, but if you do, I love smoke.
Thank you for that. And I want to stick with you, as we sort of transition into the next question. But adding you know the the context of one of the conversations that we've had in our newsroom, is that something that you wouldn't necessarily assume to be generational, but seems to be playing out in that way is a conversation on feedback and annual reviews and how do you communicate? What is, what are the touch points that you need? And what is that more or less important than? So thinking about that, and then just also moving into a question of what are things that you would suggest, and we'll go around to everybody, before going to questions in order to make newsrooms more inclusive spaces for the different generations that are in the workforce now?
I mean, I think for me, and this is as Beena and George has stated earlier, it's not just about your generation, but it's about your lived experience. And the reason why I'm highlighting that is because it's really different. If you're a journalist who has come from previous journalists, like as in the family, or if you have several generations in this country, in your family. Both things are things that I do not have. And so it definitely affects my view, and how I approach things in terms of feedback. Being Nigerian, and I will say all of the West Africans, were wild in terms of super directive from the point of bluntness. So when we're talking about feedback, those are things that I would expect, but also in a respectful manner, because this is not your family's Thanksgiving, this is work. So calm down. I also think there has to be some regularity that can't be annual, but perhaps quarterly or semi-annual, so that'd be four times a year, twice a year. And I do think it's not, you know, I think some people seek feedback for every little thing, which I just think is unreasonable. And it's unfair, and it's too much because right, you're working, but also the people adjacent to you are working and above you are working. And we have to be mindful that we are not the only people in this place. So what are you asking for others? And how are you supporting that? It can't just be people supporting you, you also need to do the work of supporting others. And I do think about, I do think people, manager, colleagues, even if you're not a manager, subordinates, whomever should point out and call out exceptional work when it happens, regardless of the time period. You know, I think that inspires people and can give them recognition perhaps, and people who would not get recognition, I think, in particular if some of these departments and people in newsrooms who can contribute to things that maybe don't get the call out, like the people behind the photos of the people who are building the systems, or like the CMS's right, that help you do the great project that you get to be the face up, but no one really talks about them. I think that's like, really super important. And so I think taking those steps would begin to make the newsroom better. And having discussions -- where I work, we do a quarterly meeting. That's an all staff, where everybody from all the departments present, and then we have the head of the network come and talk to us. And they also do allow questions. And that's something that was happening before the pandemic, but I think has become, its importance has become even more relevant during the pandemic, when we're all still working from home and scattered. So I would suggest that.
Thank you. Beena, how about you?
Well, I love thinking about feedback in terms of generational lines, but also along like racial and cultural lines, I think that's really fascinating. I would advise other early career folks on here, usually, we're going to be the folks who are not in management or in leadership, who can do the work of making like sweeping newsroom change. So I would encourage you to do some of those things where if there's like specific feedback that you want in your review, that's always a good I think conversation to bring up with your manager. And I think usually, your manager will be pretty willing, if there are specific things that you feel like would help your growth, but I've also kind of built my own, like informal feedback structures at work. So I will do it with peers, I will do it -- ProPublica, we started a peer partners mentorship program for this idea that like mentoring can go both ways. And so I participate in that program. I have a really great mentor. I would encourage mentors out there. We all like love coming to you with our thoughts and ideas, and it makes us feel super good if like we can also help you in a way. And so if I would encourage if your mentee has made that kind of impact on you or has like helped you maybe see things with a different perspective, please like tell that person because anytime my mentor is telling me that it like makes my week and I'm so happy. But like those are the things that I would advise like figure out how to make your own change in your own work day. If there's feedback that you really want. Ask your manager for it or figure out other like peer alignments that can maybe help you get some more of that in your workday.
Thank you and George, how about you?
I would echo all of that, every single thing that's just been said. And I think that, in fact, leadership is not only are organizations getting flatter, but leadership is being found all over the place. It can be on these teams that form to help us reach new audiences or certain audiences. The great thing that's happening right now that I don't think we should underestimate the power, is that in a lot of .. we're becoming much more of an audience-focused business, most of us in journalism, because it isn't ... if you're seeking subscribers, for example, like most of us are now, you have to, you have to prove your value to be worth paying, you have to provide something of value that's worth paying for, that they can't get for free somewhere else. And to do that, you have to, you have to grow beyond your current audience, especially if you're like legacy print, and you're dealing with your current audiences 50 and older, where's your future, if you're going to do that? So what Beena was saying about learning going both ways, and all ways is so true. Just as, as groups within a newsroom can form to help us listen better, to help us serve underserved communities better, to help us reach people we haven't been reaching with news, it's of value to them. And people who are in tune with that, or of that age group, or from that background, who know that neighborhood, can help us learn how to serve better and do great journalism for those audiences. And that's leadership, and that's leadership that's going to lead to opportunities too, and it's going to help us all grow. And I think the learning goes both ways, I would, I wouldn't just count on hierarchal annual reviews. Because, you know, you might have a supervisor that's not really good at giving reviews, a lot, of you know, that varies so widely ... might not like telling you things you don't want to hear or might only like telling you things, you don't wanna hear. We've all had both those kinds of bosses. And so if you seek mentors, and maybe and more than one, then you get advice from a lot more people. And I think I do that, too.
I like what you said to that, that, you know, too often we associate leadership with management, and they're not in any way necessarily the same thing ... So a question to the group, and maybe just one of us can answer so you can make sure to keep moving. But there have been a couple of questions about Gen Z. What Gen Z-ers bring to an organization where there might be common ground ... is there a superpower or a change that you associate with Gen Z in the newsroom?
Every individual has superpowers with the knowledge and the background they bring. Imaeyen is bringing things to the table that so many people in her organization don't know as a first generation American, as all these things coming into the thing and who knows what that leads to as far as seeing things that other people can't see. And that's where the superpowers come from, you can see a way that other people can't see. And I think that is a really good point. If people can look for that in themselves and listen to others, what do you see in me, that I can bring to this organization. Because if you try to pattern yourself after somebody else, you're not seeing your own strengths and your own unique perspective and what you bring to the table. And ... it gets back to that permanent thing too. And other big things that are going on right now. So when the ProPublica came out last week or two weeks ago with that giant tax story, you know, that just showed that the ultra-wealthy don't pay any taxes and even get child credits for their kids. I mean, oh my gosh. And it was just, you know, what it reminded me of when I read it, it reminded me of the last thing I think, had that much power within a very similar time period. And it was over 100 years ago in the early 1900s. And Ida Tarbell, a woman investigative reporter like no other before her, exposed the monopoly of Standard Oil and the concentration of wealth of another gilded age where people were on the front of a technical -- technological revolution. And all this wealth was concentrated in five people's hands instead of everybody else's hands and a lot of what Imaeyen was describing before is because of this, because there's so much wealth in so few hands, and we're seeing that happen again, because we're in that era again. But it also shows the revelence of great journalism doesn't change and the stories, the stories that are great, are always great no matter what generation it is. And there's a new story to be told about a new Gilded Age and what's going on right now. And young journalists are telling it, and it's a great opportunity, because there's some really important things that need to be told right now. And people are seeing it, and they're going out and getting it. And so look for those stories that you can tell like no one else could cause you can see things like no one else can see them.
I love that George and I would add like I agree with everything he said, and I love that someone else is thinking about the century that we're in is like the early like 1900s, which I think a lot of it, I'm like, we need to go back and look at the 1920s. But I would add like Gen Z, their superpower I think has less to do with them and more to do with the industry specifically in that I see them and think of their superpower as hope, as in, we can hope to do right by them in a way that we have not done right by any other one before them. And when I look at them, I think of when I came in, you know, within the first five years of the career, how many people leave journalism? And we had never previously discussed why that was happening for Black people and Asian people and queer people and low-income people, right? And we're beginning to have those discussions. And so for me, it's presenting an opportunity to give these people a fighting chance that other people haven't had. I mourn for all the people that we have lost over these many decades, not just in our lifetime, but pre our lifetime, who would have had a profound impact, but for being pushed out of the business. And so I'm glad that they and others are pushing us to be honest and have these relevant conversations. If our goal really is to get better if like George said, you know, we're becoming audience focused, which perhaps we should have been the whole time, which is the real gag. How can we be better for them, which in turn means being better for ourselves? Which results in being better with the audience? Because I don't know who needs to hear this -- Are y'all on the zoom? I don't know who needs to hear this. Everyone is the audience. Everyone is the audience. Get into it. Everyone is the audience. Journalists are real people who live lives who are affected by these stories in real ways. I know y'all are salty about that ProPublica -- I definitely pulled out my old tax returns to compare when I saw that story. And I think we have to be like, mindful of those things. So Gen Z, we love to see you.
So last question. It's a hard one to ask with three minutes left, but we had one from the audience of: I would love to hear advice on how, as an elder millennial, I can constructively manage and grow a team that ranges in age from Gen Z to boomers, and just as importantly, help foster team bonding and teamwork when they're working remotely. I will jump in and say one of the things that that I love doing, is one actually creating a container with meetings and thinking about how do we check in, how do we see people as humans, but also respect folks' boundaries? How do we check out so we're, you know, we're leaving with an understanding of what expectations are, what hopes are coming out of a meeting and not having those loose ends? And then, you know, hire people who are different from you. Think about what are the ways that you can name and celebrate your learning edges. And then learn a name what you're learning kind of what Beena was saying before with mentors, from people who are different from you. I've now taken it down to two minutes. But is there anybody else who would like to jump in with a manager pro tip before we sign off?
I'll listen. Listen more than talk and look for those superpowers. Whoever brought up superpowers, look for the person's superpowers and help get the most out of them no matter what their age is. That they're passionate about. Look for what they're passionate about. Watch Ted Lasso. He's got some good tips. He's got the, you know, look how he turned the equipment manager into an assistant coach that's finding superpowers you know?
I think too, people need to be proactive about ... which all three of us have said here is somehow aligning yourselves with people who are outside of your generation and outside of your lived experience. So if I'm managing that team in some way, I partner either on projects or whatever, right, making sure that people are having to work with people who were very much unlike themselves, which might spark some discomfort. But guess what? You don't get better by doing the same thing. Discomfort and .... betterment requires a measurement of uncomfortability. So that's what I would do. And also reminding people you know, to quote Aaliyah's album, "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number." Being older doesn't mean that you are doing things well, maybe it just means that you've been skating by and being young doesn't mean that you don't know anything, but also vice versa. Just because you're useful doesn't mean you have all the answers, because you do not. And just because you're old doesn't mean that you're obsolete and your experience is irrelevant, because that's not true. I also want to add, before we go, we need younger people in academia, teaching journalism now as it is because that is part of the problem, and how we're getting into these generational and cultural fights in the newsroom, like millennial teachers and Gen X teachers and even Gen Z teachers, if possible, because some of you are old enough to be working and bringing this 21st century experience you know? We get it -- Woodward and Bernstein -- gah gah gah gah gah. But like, what are we talking about in 2021?
There there is an awesome title of a PMDMC panel this week, that's the pipeline is not the problem. And I just keep sitting going, I love that title. I love that conversation. And I am so grateful to all of you for joining us for this conversation. Thank you so much for sharing and have a great ONA.