Engage young people to ensure audience : 8th World Young Reader Conference Expo

Here’s how newspapers can ensure a future audience: create post-Internet print content combined with smart digital approaches, directly engage young people and those who influence their media loyalties, while at the same time avoid alienating older readers.

That is the “Total Youth Think” approach that is being adopted by newspapers in many countries, and it will be the subject of a major session at the 8th World Young Reader Conference and Expo, to be held in Prague, Czech Republic, from 27 to 30 September next.

Total Youth Think is an approach to staffing, content, platforms and attitudes that places young people at the centre of a newspaper company’s
strategy. The Young Reader Conference will feature lessons from newspapers – big and small – that have successfully adopted a Total Youth Think approach.

Key speakers at “Total Youth Think” are Anne Kari Jacobsen, Chief Analyst for A-Pressen Group in Norway, who will discuss how that group’s local newspapers have used a wide array of strategies including youth newsrooms, surveys of young people, resources for teachers, web-based journalism ‘games’ that can be used in classrooms, and more.

Grzegorz “Greg” Piechota, Special Projects Editor for Gazeta Wyborcza in Poland, which is conducting a strategy to “link generations” in the
newspaper. “It’s better to link generations, to make a newspaper relevant to both young and old readers rather than make a ghetto like a youth section,” he says. “We had been doing that, but nobody liked it. Young readers felt they were not treated seriously enough, and old readers could not stand trivial content in their serious newspaper.”

Boris Trupčević, General Manager for 24sata in Croatia, who will examine how the youth-led company became the market leader with a newly launched newspaper and website, and completed its multimedia strategy with a news TV channel. The session will be chaired by Danièle Fonck, Deputy Director General of Editpress in Luxembourg.

Participants who sign up by 31 July will have free access to a webinar on the topic scheduled for 7 August to be conducted by Marcelo Rech, General Director for Project Management of the RBS Group in Brazil, whose flagship newspaper, Zero Hora, credits its Total Youth Think techniques for a 78 percent penetration rate among young people aged 20 to 29 years, and a 71percent penetration rate among those aged 15 to 19.

The Total Youth Think model and successful cases will also be examined by the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper Project’s first report of its 2009 series, “Publishing to Targeted Audiences.” Conference participants will receive that section of the report as part of their registration fee.

The conference is supported by Norske Skog, the Norway-based global paper producer, and the Czech Publishers Association.

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