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Millennials are most likely to engage with content that "inspires conversation", according to Jigar Mehta, engagement lead at Al Jazeera's recent side-project AJ+.

"What's interesting about this generation is they really want this 'one-to-one'," he told delegates at the News Xchange conference in Prague today.

That interest in conversation extended not only to journalists and other content producers, but also to their friends and peers, he added.

AJ+ soft-launched in June but officially went live in September with a large focus on video and social networks.

The AJ+ app offers news stories delivered in a card format comprising of stacks featuring different elements such as context pieces, comments and quizzes.

How the audience responds and interacts with stories also helps to shape future coverage.

Mehta explained that AJ+ might begin with a piece of explainer journalism, "but then when we see how the audience is responding we do more personalised stories".

In Norway, NRK – the government-owned public broadcaster – is also using social to engage younger audiences, focusing on Snapchat.

If they can't see the whole [Snapchat] story because there is too much text they'll be angry with us.Ingvild Beltesbrekke, NRK
Ingvild Beltesbrekke, a presenter, reporter and producer for NRK's youth channel P3nyheter, said the outlet has been producing 10-second 'Snaps' around news stories, inspired by NowThisNews.

The Washington Post has also used Snapchat to post updates during this year's Super Bowl, while Channel 4 News used the platform for coverage of the Scottish referendum.

As with other Western countries, Snapchat is one of the most popular social networks in Norway.

Beltesbrekke explained that two out of three teenagers aged 13 to 18 have an account on the platform, while the NRKP3nyheter Snapchat account has between 3,000 and 4,000 followers.

As well an individual Snaps, NRK also produces Snapchat Stories, where images and short videos are combined in sequence and remain viewable for 24 hours instead of being deleted immediately after being watched.

With each Snap lasting just a few seconds, Beltesbrekke highlighted the importance of using few words and being "on point" to be sure the message is clear to viewers.

"Sometimes if they can't see the whole story because there is too much text they'll be angry with us, and we have to modify [it]," she said.

However, she said the response to NRK's account had been mostly positive with users responding in typical Snapchat fashion – by 'snapping back' with selfies and thumbs up.



  • Journalism.co.uk technology editor Abigail Edge is currently reporting from the conference, for updates follow @abigailedge.

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