How papers are reaching out to Millennials
Forget the stereotypes: They read papers, they need to be engaged
February 12, 2016
By the editors of Media Life
This article is part of a Media Life series “Reinventing the American Newspaper.” Click here to read other stories in the series.
It’s a well-known fact that Millennials don’t read newspapers, right?
They just don’t read them as their parents did. They may not be reading them as much in print, but they are reading newspaper websites, social media feeds and mobile apps.
A third of adults 18-34 read print papers and 42 percent regularly visit newspaper websites, according to comScore.
Papers’ challenge then is to reach out to these young readers where they are instead of hoping that some day they’ll magically morph into print newspaper readers.
It goes beyond simply jumping on Snapchat or Instagram or the latest social site. You have to give them real content, not just window dressing.
Here are four papers making smart efforts to connect Millennials with new products and approaches aimed at those young readers.
1. New York Times’ newsletter for college students
This week The New York Times began targeting college students with a new idea: A newsletter that is aimed specifically at them and their interests.
The paper knows college kids care about very different things than its general audience. Stories given big play on its homepage may leave students shaking their heads.
The carefully curated newsletter, called The Edit, will include things of immediate concern to 18-24s, such as stories about new social media apps or how to find a job.
The Edit launched on Monday and will be distributed biweekly.
2. Periscoping with Bild
Periscope is a Twitter app that lets you use your phone to live stream video. So, for instance, you could use Periscope to film your child’s soccer game, and it would be streamed live on the web to whoever wanted to watch.
It’s popular with Millennials, who grew up with streaming video, and the German newspaper Bild found a smart way to deploy it last summer to further its storytelling. Reporter Paul Ronzheimer, who was traveling from Greece to Germany with a group of Syrian refugees, used Periscope to record the journey.
His followers exploded, going from 1,500 to more than 50,000, and Ronzheimer has continued with his Periscoping with other stories.
3. Washington Post’s Re-Engage
Millennials are all about engagement. When they’re into your offerings, they’re scrolling, swiping and tweeting. The key is to foster that initial engagement.
That’s the idea behind a new feature introduced by The Washington Post Thursday, which offers suggestions for other stories to someone who has become inactive on the app. While not only aimed at Millennials, that’s clearly the sweet spot – they are easily distracted by other apps on their phones and are most likely to need to be re-engaged.
4. USA Today’s One Nation
Engagement isn’t limited to electronics. USA Today is hosting a series of events for Millennials across the country this year, aimed at informing voters on issues from immigration to energy to healthcare.
It’s also publishing articles in tandem with those subjects, running under the heading of One Nation. It’s been slow to build – One Nation’s Twitter account has only 254 followers – but it’s an interesting way to tie activism, politics and newspapers together.
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