World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Be real, credible and ask questions to reach young people

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

Be real, credible and ask questions to reach young people

Newspapers that want to attract young people through social media need to do three things, says Aralynn McMane, Executive Director of Young Readership Development at WAN-IFRA: be authentic, be credible, and listen more intelligently to young people.

You can’t fake authenticity, she says. “If you fake it, they’ll get it and go away,” she says.

Credibility can be a problem as well. Only 19 per cent of respondents in a recent survey of 2,000 Middle Eastern  15- to 24-year olds said that newspapers are a credible source of information. “You have to build trust,” she says.

Dr McMane, who presented numerous examples of newspapers that succeed with you and why, said they had the following points in common:

  • They lead in defense of causes, providing a platform for young people to pursue popular causes.
  • They treat youth as ‘normal’ in their coverage. “I challenge you to examine your headlines about young people. They’re usually portrayed as victims, troublemakers, or, ‘it’s a miracle they have a brain.’”
  • They recognise that young people are digital natives who are in on the “network buzz” naturally, and that they adopt the ‘next new thing’ early.
  • They get to young people early, through their parents and teachers.
  • They offer young people the opportunity to see what doing news work is all about.

More on WAN-IFRA’s young reader initiatives can be found at


Larry Kilman's picture

Larry Kilman


2012-02-29 12:27

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