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Reaching young people with the news

Swiss media houses are reaching young people less and less with their news offerings. However, democracy needs young people to be informed. A ZHAW study looked at the following question: How can young people be reached with the news?

Young people in Switzerland are still interested in being informed. The difference is that they no longer consume news via traditional channels and formats. Instead, they increasingly do so via social media and audiovisual articles that they access on their smartphone. This is revealed by the study “How to reach Swiss digital natives with the news”, which investigated the news consumption of young people aged between 12 and 20. Generally speaking, it can be seen that young people prefer visual formats such as images and videos. When scrolling through social media platforms, they often come across news content by chance, some of which they follow up on, leading them to the original news source. Specific news apps are also popular. Apart from being a pastime and a source of entertainment, it is primarily the personal interests of young people and the people around them that serve as motivation for the consumption of news. Young people want to be informed so that they can have a say on current and relevant topics that are “on trend”.

Results being used for an audience model

In the study, the news consumption of young Swiss people from the country’s three language regions (German-, French- and Italian-speaking) was investigated between August 2019 and February 2020 with the help of a qualitative multi-method approach. The study’s results, which were published at the start of 2021, contribute to an audience model that maps and systematises the news usage patterns of young people in Switzerland in different age groups.