Young people's relationship with the news is a tricky one because they have grown up with the internet and social media, they are used to having a deluge of information (for better and worse) at their fingertips. As a result, their expectations and definition of news is vastly different to that of previous generations.
That was outlined to great effect in a recent paper published this week by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and strategic insight agency Craft, titled The Kaleidoscope. It speaks to the sheer variety and complexity of Gen Z news consumers and what they seek from news coverage.
The bottom line is that Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) have blurred perceptions of what is considered "news", and have been brought up to be critical and distrustful of information. They are also selectively avoiding the news in an effort to safeguard their mental health.
This is a huge alarm bell considering we are living in a time where so many historic events are demanding our attention; from the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II to the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The warning shot has been fired: legacy news organisations will lose audiences to media outlets willing to rip up the rulebook and cater to their needs.
Here to guide us in this week's podcast is Ethar El-Katatney, an award-winning journalist and newsroom strategist. She is also the newly hired news product strategy lead across the Americas for Bloomberg. Prior to that, she worked as the Wall Street Journal’s young audience editor and before that as a senior producer at AJ+, Al Jazeera’s social-first news channel.
El-Katatney shares strategies and techniques to help legacy news organisations start thinking about how to appeal to younger audiences.
For more tips and advice, do read her recently published research paper and guide for newsrooms looking to appeal to younger audiences.