YOUNG READERS AND THE “GHETTO APPROACH”

Files under General | Jul 25th

First, today´s good news from the Newspaper Association of America (NAA):

“New research for the Newspaper Association of America Foundation finds that newspaper content for teens, by teens and relating to teens strongly impacts a newspaper’s ability to attract young adult readers and keep them as they age.

According to the study of more than 1,600 18- to 24-year-olds, 75 percent of respondents who said they read newspaper content aimed at teens when they were 13 to 17 years old now read their local paper at least once a week, compared with 44 percent of those who said they did not read teen content.”

Well, one year ago, and with the support of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), INNOVATION did an international survey of editorial strategies to capture and cautivate young readers and ourconclusionss were quite different.

What we said was this:

“Newspapers will not succeedd in attracting young readers for their papers only with special sections, supplements, cleverly segmented websites or simply multimedia projects.

It´s a fact that millions of dollars have been spent on these projects over the past few years and very little is working with demonstrable long-term success.”

The “ghetto-approach” will not work.

Perhaps we were wrong but we have not changed our minds.

Also today, People announced the end of TeenPeople, a magazine that was published to promote young readers for the adult publication.

It did not work.

And the same happened a few months ago with ElleGirl magazine.

It is good to be optimistic about the future of our industry (and we are) but perhaps is better to be realistic.



One Response to “YOUNG READERS AND THE “GHETTO APPROACH””

  1. Juan I don’t see the NAA data as conflicting with your (quite reasonable) position.

    The language is telling: “75 percent of respondents who said they read newspaper content aimed at teens when they were 13 to 17 years old….” It may be true that when teens learn to read newspapers it leads them to be better adult readers.

    But, as you have observed, the real problem is that the “teen page” strategies have failed to make that initial connection with significant numbers of teens.

    Personally, I think it’s a content problem and not an issue of print vs. other media. Newspaper-generated teen content invariably comes across as “Pat Boone rapping” … even if it’s produced by teens (usually school reporters and the like).

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