Camera Journalists and Educators Have Failed Gen Z

Failed Gen Z

I, like so many others, have spent years of my life attempting to make it easier to be informed about cameras and imaging technology. But despite this, I and those like me have failed in our goal to educate Gen Z.

When I heard that Gen Z is just now discovering that dedicated cameras are better than their iPhones, I was aghast. Despite the wealth of information we have on PetaPixel and the thousands upon thousands of other stories and videos that are online, somehow we did not get this information across to young people. Instead, they had to stumble upon it for themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad they figured this out, but that’s not the way I was hoping they would come across the information. We were actually discussing the situation in an internal meeting here at PetaPixel and I just sat back and exclaimed, “We failed. We have failed in our jobs as journalists and educators.”

That might sound like hyperbole but I honestly believe it. This is on us as much as if not more than on them. As important as it is to seek information, it is just as important for teachers to learn how to speak the right language. The logic applies to teaching in classrooms, too. Quite often, traditional methods of education don’t resonate with all students. Sometimes, teachers need to adjust how they explain something in order to get that information across.

A perfect example of this is the founder of Kurzgesagt. In a recent video (below), the company explained how it started and what drives its goals. In it, it is explained that the company’s founder struggled with traditional education until their teacher changed the way they taught. The entire premise of Kurzgesagt is based on that idea, where they take complex ideas and distill them down into an easy-to-understand way.

We as camera journalists and educators are not doing a good job of doing this for the entirety of Gen Z. We can write stories, make videos, and try and get people to understand the value of full-size cameras until we’re blue in the face, but if we aren’t providing that information to an audience in a way they understand, we fail. This is a real-life “how do I reach these kids” moment.

And, obviously, we’re failing.

The digital camera industry is not doing well and continues to contract. We need young people to be informed and to support this industry to keep it healthy and prevent the situation from getting worse. So rather than deride Gen Z for this, we need to look in the mirror and ask if there is something more we can be doing to speak their language.

This story is part of PetaPixel’s weekly newsletter Clipped Highlights.

What is Clipped Highlights?

Clipped Highlights is a free, curated, weekly newsletter that will be sent out every Wednesday morning and will focus on a few of the most important stories of the previous week and explain why they deserve your attention. This newsletter is different from our daily news brief in that it provides unique insights that can only be found in Clipped Highlights.

In addition to unique takes on the biggest stories in photography, art, and technology, Clipped Highlights will also serve to feature at least one photo series or art project that we think is worth your time to check out. So often in the technology and imaging space we focus on the how and not the what. We think that it’s just as important, if not more so, to look at the art created by photographers around the world as it is to celebrate the new technologies that makes that artwork possible.

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