Monday, July 23, 2007

How to get Generation X/Y to Read the Newspaper

The facts speak: young people in the 18 to 34 age range don't read the newspaper very often, if at all. I am a testament to that statistic.

That said, I do want to stress that I am very interested in news and politics. I read (and sometimes comment on) the news online every day. I read Time, Newsweek, and Business Week (although I don't subscribe). I'm a "regular" on I just read Barack Obama's new book. I write to my local representatives.

But I don't subscribe to the newspaper. I already outlined my top three reasons why.

That's not the end of the conversation, however. The question of the hour is how to attract Gen X/Y readers. Like me.

Here's my take on a potential marketing strategy. I'm not sure it will work, but it's worth a shot:
1. Go to the employers of young, urban professionals. I think it's pretty much time to scrutinize the data and see that young people aren't going to fork over their dough for free news they can get online. That said, they will probably read it if it is offered. So, savvy newspapers should go to CEO's and Professional Development Directors...and get them to, in effect, "sponsor" subscriptions for their employees. Yes, that's right. Get the employers to buy papers for their workers. What's in it for them? Well, here's where the news team needs to be creative. There are the more subtle benefits - more knowledgeable, modern, worldly-wise contributors to the company. Or perhaps the company could have a "15 minutes with the news" time during the work day where employees read and/or share current new stories. Or...
2. Focus on local people, places, and events. For national news, we go to CNN and MSNBC.
3. Go shorter. Articles should be quick, digestible, easy-to-find, immediately relevant.
4. Figure out a way to make the paper free. That's not a joke. Most young people think, "why buy the news when I can get it online for free?"
5. Realize that Classifieds are a thing of the past (we go to craigslist for cars, jobs, clothes, you-name-it).

That's all for today. If you are a member of the 18 to 34 crowd (or somewhere in the vicinity), join the conversation. Do you subscribe to any newspapers? If not, what would make you change your mind?


Damselfly said...

I'm an Xer, and I subscribe to the local paper. But then, I have a background in journalism.

I do tend to get most of my national news online, but for the in-depth local stuff, I don't anything beats the local paper. I have even tried to keep up with the local's RSS feed, but everything on that feed was so sensational, I might as well have been watching the news on TV. ("If it bleeds, it leads.") So ... there is a place for a newspaper.

Stephanie said...


Maybe you're right. I actually would subscribe to the newspaper...if it were free or if my employer covered the cost.

And I would probably read every page. Plus, I'd probably write the reporters with my comments and insights. Plus, I'd probably clip out relevant articles and file them or pass them on to friends.

But I just can't justify spending that extra loot for something that I can get free online. At least not in its current state.

Thanks for sharing.