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HLG Notebook | November 2015

1. “Marketing and Advertising Industries Hate Older People”

The British blog Ad Contrarian takes aim at the “demographic cleansing” of the marketing and advertising industry, “where there is almost no one over 50 left”:

A milestone in marketing stupidity has been reached. According to a September report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, a majority of consumer spending (51%) is now done by people over 50. These people are the target for 10% of marketing activity. On the other hand, marketers spend five times as much money marketing to Millennials, the moronic obsession of every marketer on the planet.

The blog adds this damning statistic: Millennials buy only 12% of new cars, but they are featured in about 99.9% of new car ads.

2. The Golden Age of Policy Wonk Journalism

Washington Monthly chronicles the rapid growth of “hyper-granular coverage” of Congressional tick-tock by specialist and high-priced industry trade journals:

This sector of the Fourth Estate is booming, and its coverage of government has never been more robust. Trade outlets are steadily adding to their staffs in Washington. New entrants like Bloomberg Government and Politico Pro are experimenting with newer and faster ways to get their coverage to consumers. Long-standing trade publications are merging or being bought up for unbelievable prices.

The author, a trade journalist himself, worries that “the public” doesn’t have access to the tedious details of trade agreements, industrial regulation, and Hill activity. But he misses the point: at the moment that people decry the decline of hard-news journalism, his long article shows that there has never been more money available for detailed reporting on Washington activities.

3. More Millennial Myths

Last month, we highlighted a study that showed that Millennials wanted stable, long-term careers. Now, Deloitte has found that young people holding government jobs are content as tenured bureaucrats:

This nationally representative poll implies that Millennial government workers today have less intent to look for a new job in the next year than do their private-sector peers (36 percent intend to look for a new job versus 51 percent of all Millennial respondents). They are also less likely to look for a new job in the next year than were their Gen X predecessors when the latter were the same age (36 percent of Millennial government workers in 2014 intended to look for a new job versus 47 percent of Gen X government workers in 2002).

4. Grantland, R.I.P.

Earlier this fall, ESPN suddenly terminated Grantland, the lively sports and pop culture webzine. The New Republic points out some of the things that made Grantland special:

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5. Stop “Cyber” Before It Becomes a Verb

A veteran security professional in pleads for new language to describe his work:

The term “cyber” has risen to the level of “information superhighway” or “web 2.0” and is clearly a target for ridicule. At the same time, others, mostly .gov and .mil guys, still use it in a forceful and matter of fact way.…Even I wince when I use the term “cybersecurity” to describe what I do to the vast unwashed masses. What’s becoming increasingly obvious is that we need a new word for cyber. I want to actively debate this and find an alternative before “cyber” (an adjective, or noun) becomes a verb, as Google is to “googling” something. I never want to hear that a client was “cyber’ed” by a nation state threat, or that someone “cyberfied” their network to make it more resilient to attack. That bleak prospect is so gravely serious that we need to put tongue firmly in cheek and start talking.

6. Could Medical Marijuana Increase Teenage Traffic Fatalities?

Tyler Cowen directs us to a new academic study that argues that the growth of legalized medical marijuana in many states may be increasing teenage pot smoking and marijuana-related car accidents:

For accidents involving a driver aged 15-20, growth in the medical marijuana market predicts an increase in total traffic fatalities, with significant effects on alcohol-related, weekend, and nighttime accidents. The magnitude of these effects is quite large; a one percentage-point increase in [medical marijuana] registration rates increases weekend and nighttime traffic fatalities caused by young drivers by 8% and 7% respectively.

This paper is highly technical, but it raises questions that deserve broader public discussion. Policy makers should find its conclusions sobering.