A journalism researcher has suggested traditional news brands need to more closely associate themselves with “fun news” in order to attract a younger audience
Nic Newman, senior research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, told an industry conference there was a “disconnect” between young people and the news media in general.
Nic, pictured, also told the Behind Local News conference in Birmingham that news publishers are set to invest more resources in podcasting this year – after research revealed a 40pc increase in podcast listening across the UK last year.
A recent RSIJ study found the increase was “driven by a younger, plugged-in generation looking for information, entertainment and distraction”.
Speaking at the conference, organised by the Behind Local News website and podcasting platform Laudable, Nic said: “There is a disconnect with younger audiences. They want useful, interesting, fun news. Things traditional news brands may not be associated with.”
Ed Walker, editor-in-chief of Reach plc’s hyperlocal platform In Your Area, acknowledged that it was something local media needed to get better at.
Posting on Twitter he wrote: “Younger audiences want to read what’s useful, interesting and fun. I think regional and local media needs to work on the fun part.”
During his keynote speech, Nic also looked ahead to how the industry might look in 2030, predicting among other things that there will be ‘fewer, better media companies’ and that AI would be a standard presence in newsrooms.
Quizzed on his thoughts about the future of print, he said: “Print will still be around as a niche product which will sell less, like a lot of things, but won’t disappear.
“People will hang on to it because it’s still a unique product which adds value for a lot of people.”
Discussing podcasting, he added: “It’s a really convenient, frictionless medium. When we talked to publishers this year about where they’re investing, a huge number said podcasts. Advertisers are interested in podcasts.
“[Podcasts] are very in tune with journalists because journalists like to chat, and they’re very good at it., so I think that could really work with local newsrooms.”