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Panpa Bulletin : March 2006
March 2006 PaNPa bUlletiN | 29 coNteNt StrateGIeS for YounG reaDerS 1 FIRST PRIORITY. change your paper to get young readers. Full stop. 2 FORgET THE gHETTO APPROAcH François Dufour, founder of Play Bac Presse in Paris (France) says that one strategy that doesn’t work is to publish ‘special’ products for ‘special’ people. “The ghetto system is wrong as it was in the past with women, and as it is now with young readers.” Teengauger, a 2004 research study for the News-paper Association of America (NAA) concluded that teens don’t want: • ‘Teen people’ version of the news. • Only news about teen issues (by teens for teens). Mario garcía, the American newspaper designer agrees. “do we need a ‘supplement for young readers? of course not. the newspapers of the world do not need more supplements. in fact, they need fewer pages.” And as Tom curley, President and cEO of the Associated Press (AP) wrote in the Nieman Repots: “it wasn’t so long ago that most newspapers had women’s sections, until it dawned on editors that the label stereotyped, patronised and risked alienating half their readership. We shouldn’t have to learn that lesson all over again with young readers.” 3 SPEND MONEY, wISELY The INNOVATION International Media consulting group estimates that the newspaper industry spent more than $3 billion uSD in just the last two years on new sections, supplements, magazines, market research, brainstorming, prototypes, Newspaper In Education (NIE) programs, and training in order to attract and retain new and young readers. A lot of money and a lot of effort. But circulation is going down and many newspaper publishers and editors don’t know what else to do. 4 DON’T BE PESSIMISTIc: BRAND AND cONTENT IS THE FuTuRE Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian in London, like many of his colleagues is pessimistic when he says that “for the frst time in my generation, you can’t take it as a given that the next generation of 15 to 24 year-olds are going to migrate to newspapers, or even see the point in newspapers.” And yet, most of us would agree with Rusbridger when he says “that the future of newspapers will be about brand and content.” 5 gO LOcAL Lisa Scheid, editor of Voices at the Reading Eagle in Pennsylvania (uSA) recommends: “forget about picking up pre- packaged national stuff. i’d rather pay and coach a local teen to localise a national story. the pay off is much greater. for example, rather than just having a canned stand-in piece, you could have a teen write about how being on the street team for the band led her to meet and greet team members when they came to town. depending on your ambition and the teen’s ability, the story can be expanded to look at the roles of street teams with bands or the thrill of meet and greets. ask teens in yoUr community about their lives and what matters to them. don’t assume they just want celebrity news and beauty or sex tips.” 6 RELEVANcE claude Erbsen, a director and consultant of INNOVATION based in New York says: “today’s young people get their basic spot news from a mix of sources: the net, by SMS on their telephones, by radio and television. and they get it much faster and in a more timely fashion than previous generations. What they don’t get, and where newspapers can still be useful, is relevance. ‘What does this mean to Me?’ ‘how does this impact My life?’ Newspapers can provide this connection and make themselves essential.” Last month, PaNPa bulletin looked at why the time has never been more right for a world-wide examination of strategies to win the new generation of readers. The INNOVATION Report also revealed 50 editorial strategies. Here are some of the best. getting young readers