Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Newspapers Must Work Harder to Attract Younger Readers

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Newspapers Must Work Harder to Attract Younger Readers

Article excerpt

I love autumn: the smells, the colors, football, a feeling of 'togetherness.' As a circulation sales manager, I look forward to the excitement of increased sales, both in home delivery and single copy, as the vacation season winds down and consumers settle in and prepare for the winter months ahead. For most newspaper companies, the fall also represents the start of a new school year and an opportunity to reach arguably the newspaper industry's most important audience--young readers.

Developing new readers must be a number one priority for the newspaper industry. Millennials make up the largest living generation in the United States; larger than the baby boom generation and three times the size of Gen X. They represent more than $200 billion in buying power. According to Ypulse Lifeline, 33 percent of millennials get their news from printed newspapers (still!) and 62 percent get their news from a news website.

Millennials have an appetite for the kind of relevant, trustworthy news and information that only newspapers can provide. They learned to become critical thinkers and to question the information they read at a young age. This is why they are such a perfect audience for newspapers.

Newspaper companies need to become more strategic in how they reach young readers, particularly college readers. There are several good examples to follow. USA Today College features a website and a Facebook page with more than 65,000 followers. Their Twitter account has more than 37,000 followers. The website features articles of interest to college students, as well as user-contributed content.

The Wall Street Journal continues to offer a strong educational presence across college campuses. They do not offer free papers on campus and generally push students to digital subscriptions. In addition, they conduct campus-wide events that educate instructors and students on how to best utilize the WSJ in the classroom.

News Corp is also venturing into the education field at the elementary level. Two years ago, in partnership with AT&T, they launched Amplify, a K-12 tablet-based learning system. News Corp boasts that 200,000 educators and more than 3 million students are currently using Amplify. …

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