How can Journalism keep the attention of young audiences today?
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How can Journalism keep the attention of young audiences today?

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How can Journalism keep the attention of young audiences today?

In the era of Trump, Brexit, and everything in between, the media is playing a bigger and more essential part in our everyday lives than ever before – matching the need created to hear the news, as that news becomes wilder, year by year.

Journalism is the means by which society keeps up with the latest happenings when it comes to politics, culture, or whatever is happening in the world that the public needs to keep up with. Thanks to the dawn of the internet, the up to date research done by journalists around the world can reach a device in your pocket in seconds.

Some newer media companies such as No Majesty are making an effort to diversify the subjects featured on their front page, mixing in lesser-known stories from outside the political mainstream, in order to keep readers interested. Meanwhile, the rise of contributor platforms means that journalists with less experience can also tell their stories.

This consideration of 'other' news stories can be essential at a time like today, where fatigue from repetitive stories of Trump and Brexit can wear down a casual consumer. Understandably, the biggest stories of the day which provide the biggest revenue are often the ones most likely to be repeated ad nauseum. The problem for the consumer in these situations is that each source begins to look the same, as it becomes harder to have a different take on a story.

This desensitization and the copycat effect is further hardened by what we now commonly know as the 'echo chamber' – the social media accounts you follow day today, which are likely to be biassed towards your political worldview, meaning you are less and less likely to hear opinions which contradict your own. Twitter and Facebook are the most cited examples of this, but the website which readers choose to provide their daily news can also keep them in this 'echo chamber'.

Alongside these built-in struggles for today's organizations, there are also the obstacles presented by our more media-sceptic politicians. One of the US president's better-known characteristics is his intense dislike of most mainstream media organisations – besides those working within the right-wing. The public outrage displayed by Trump towards long-established institutions has an immeasurable, but likely significant effect on the public's trust of these institutions.

Young people, in particular, it has often been suggested, often lack trust in the media. Last year a survey by the Pew Research Center found that under three quarters of under the 30s in the UK said they trusted the BBC. This was in stark contrast to the 81 percent of over 50s who said the same. When such a longstanding respected institution has this lack of faith, it gives little hope to companies with less of a powerful presence or history.

This means that those companies looking to make a real impact in the younger market of newsreaders needs to provide something truly different in order to stand out. In order to break the echo chambers which surround the majority of readers, whether young or old, it seems increasingly likely that the most effective remedy is a slew of news that breaks away from the mainstream and delivers something unexpected - a metaphorical 'shock to the system'.

This craving can easily explain the boom in independent journalists found on sources such as YouTube and Twitter, where daily thousands of users flock to read the latest views put forward on the world's biggest current events. Right-wing figures such as Steven Crowder and left-wing journalists such as Owen Jones have amassed an audience on YouTube in a relatively short amount of time, by offering audiences a regular, honestly spoken perspective on the news.

Alternative Conservative media companies, like the ones found streaming online, have long understood this need for an alternative. The popularity of shows promoting conspiracy theories alongside genuine news stories has risen over the last decade, to the point where these are some of the most popular news sources amongst certain demographics.

The sheer power of some of today's predominantly online, largely unregulated and somewhat unresearched news giants, has led not only to a stronger hegemonic group of newsreaders, but also occasional criminal activity. In the run-up to the US presidential election, the 'Pizza-gate' scandal led to one man arming himself and investigating alleged sexual crimes occurring in a pizza restaurant – a conspiracy fuelled in part by online news outlets.

But hopefully, long-established institutions like the UK's Guardian and US New York Times can use this thirst for a different take on the news to create something more wholesome. Rather than sink to pushing salacious stories without basis, we will hopefully be able to see a more thoroughly researched, objective take on the world at large from our everyday media companies.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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