The youth is among the toughest audiences for journalists right now. The overwhelming amount of information on various platforms coupled with their preoccupation towards content creation for entertainment purposes, means they have very little space for news about current events. 

Journalists, especially in multimedia, will have to adapt their approaches and consider unique ways to better engage this demographic and encourage them to consume information that’s current, relevant and empowering.

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford University commissioned a report on How Young People Consume News and The Implications For Mainstream Media, and determined that the media needs to be more innovative, creative, tech-savvy and diverse if it wants to grab the youth’s attention. 

Here are nine things to consider. 

  1. Utilise social media platforms: Young people prefer getting their news from social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Journalists should leverage these platforms to share news content, making it accessible and engaging for younger audiences.
  2. Adopt design thinking: Design thinking, a user-focused problem-solving approach, can help news organisations create content tailored to young people’s preferences. This involves understanding how young people multitask digitally and offering news in formats that fit into their daily routines, such as podcasts.
  3. Provide trusted sources: Young audiences value transparency. They prefer news from people with firsthand experience who are open about their biases and funding sources. Fact-checking organisations can build trust by being clear about their intentions and potential conflicts of interest.
  4. Offer solutions journalism: Younger generations are often fatigued by negative news. Solutions journalism, which focuses on solving problems rather than just reporting them, resonates well with young audiences. This approach not only informs but also empowers them to take action on issues they care about.
  5. Create personalised and visual content: Young people favour news that is personalised, easy to understand, and visually appealing. Short-form content with strong visual elements can capture their attention. Additionally, providing options for deeper engagement with stories caters to those who want more detailed information.
  6. Engage influencers: Collaborating with influencers can help news organisations reach wider audiences. Influencers often have larger followings than traditional media platforms and can help spread accurate news quickly. Journalists can also interact with audiences directly, building trust and credibility.
  7. Use accessible language: News should be easy to understand without being oversimplified. Explaining complex terms and providing context helps make news more accessible. Tools like Hemingway can ensure content is at an appropriate reading level for a broad audience.
  8. Support diverse languages: In multilingual communities, producing content in local languages can extend reach and inclusivity. This approach ensures that non-English speakers are also informed and engaged.
  9. Involve young people in news creation: Allowing young people to contribute to news production can make content more relevant and engaging. Their perspectives can offer fresh insights and help create news that resonates with their peers.

There are a lot of opportunities to be creative and innovative in journalism, but it’s important that we maintain our integrity by upholding the key news values of factfulness, objectivity and non-bias. Incorporate these strategies, journalists can create news that not only informs but also engages and empowers young people, fostering a more informed and active generation.