IN the classroom, another way of verifying I’m generations older than my students is the newspaper in my tote.

My primary source of daily news is made of paper and ink.

No one else brings an old-fashioned newspaper unless I require it for class. Students check first smartphones or tablets for messages, chats and online discussions, which, for their generation, is The News.

Many young people treat the news found in traditional newspapers as DBEYR (don’t believe everything you read) or plain TMI (too much information).

When I recently asked students enrolling in “Introduction to Journalism” to study the issues of newspapers that recently redesigned their layout, I overheard comments that “it became smaller?” and “it doesn’t look anymore like a newspaper.”

One paper revealed its new design about four months ago; the other daily, last month. In this discussion, I must have sounded like an aggravated sphinx, impatient to answer its own riddles because it realizes the curse of the old is to remember what the young have no connection to.

Perhaps the apathy is not directed at journalism, only the traditional form in which it comes. My students say they enter our brick-and-mortar library only when teachers require them to read traditional books, not just Google websites, for their research.

Teaching writing to undergraduates for three decades, I’m fascinated by the lessons on reading and engagement I get in return. This is news literacy from the young but not newsless.

So recently, when social advocates discussed with me the cause they were championing, I had to disabuse them about my limited influence as a columnist and an editorial writer.

If last week’s column, “The snake, princess,” had 1,812 shares on Facebook within 24 hours, it was most certainly due to the clickbait subject: Ms. Universe and Snake Princess.

Could I replicate that online feat if I wrote about extrajudicial killings (EJK)?

These are challenging times when bloggers are dislodging journalists from the gaze of the public. Rather than look down our pens on social influencers, we should compete to engage the audience.

Central to communication is not just the sender or the message but also the receiver. Thus, we must pay more attention to the young and emerging and less on the “alingawngaw” or the noise of our generation’s judgment of Millennials.

During the Socio-Caravan Visayas held at the University of the Philippines Cebu last Feb. 3, Dr. Clarence M. Batan used this term to criticize the K to 12 system’s absence of a research-based foundation.

The word means hearsay or rumor. If anything, paper just means waste for Millennials. We cannot conclude that they are newsless.