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Good things come in fours

How do young people get their news? News organizations of all kinds have been trying to answer this question, and a new report commissioned by the Reuters Institute yields some new insights about this group’s consumption habits. The study of 18- to 35-year-olds revealed four key “moments” to get news in front of younger audiences, as well as four main types of news consumers:

  • Heritage News Consumers “make a concerted effort to at least consume some of the same traditional news brands that they grew up seeing. However, making time for these in their busy lives is not always possible and sometimes feels like a chore that’s part of being an adult.”
  • Passive News Absorbers “remain informed through collective osmosis from their online and offline experiences, but dedicate little to no time to actively engaging with the news. When something piques their interest, they search for it directly and care less about the brand they choose.”
  • Dedicated News Devotees have designated time slots throughout the day for news and “have a routine, habitual appointment with their primary news brand.” They’re most likely to have a dedicated app they use regularly. 
  • Proactive News Consumers prefer to “take matters into their own hands” and curate their own feeds according to their needs, rather than rely on a publisher or brand to do it for them. “They dedicate time for news, but it’s often news they have found during the constant grazing on their feeds.”
The report suggests that understanding the different expectations and news “moments” of young audiences is critical for engagement across platforms. You can download the full report here or Nieman Lab’s coverage of it here. 

Newspapers and radio power local reporting

Despite only comprising 25 percent of local media outlets, newspapers produce the majority of original local content.

Source: DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy

Newsrooms embrace product to great success

Investment in product is paying off for two major newsrooms. The Washington Post added a member of its product team to the masthead for the first time ever. The occasion? Growing a suite of products and growing the team to over 300 members. The Post is slated to launch personalized newsletters this September, and its app users consume three times as much content as their website. Similarly, BuzzFeed detailed how its tech team assists in its everyday reporting. With everything from creating a tool to lead reporters down a YouTube rabbit hole to bots that send periodic packets of information to slack channels, it has learned how to integrate its product team into day-to-day operations.

Time to step up your meme game

Social media continues to be one of the main sources of news for young audiences, leading publishers to experiment with how they present the news on social platforms. Last year, Danish local news station TV2 Østjylland began using memes on Instagram as a way to get its journalism in front of a younger audience, and it’s paying off: The station has seen an increase in engagement on its Instagram account, particularly in the number of people who share, comment, and tag their friends in posts. The key to creating share-worthy memes? Being “well-immersed in memes and their language is essential,” according to art director Kristine Helms, who recommends following popular meme accounts like 9GAG to stay on top of trends. "It is really easy to do wrong and to be awkward, so you have to get the right tone of the meme and also think about what stories you’re telling," she says.

A disappointing Time for Meredith Corp.

Meredith Corporation stocks fell after a disappointing earnings call on Thursday. The company bought Time Inc. in 2018 for $1.2 billion.

  • “They bought Time Inc. and it isn’t performing as expected. We know the magazine business is challenged, but the magnitude of that challenge is greater than anticipated.” - Brett Harriss, analyst (Wall Street Journal)
  • “[Meredith] didn’t know what they were buying with Time Inc. Most of the $400 million in earnings that the company was expecting just … poof! Disappeared.” - Marci Ryvicker, Wolf Research analyst (Bloomberg)
  • “The number of low margin magazine subscriptions we encountered inside the legacy Time Inc. brands were more than anticipated. Both issues required additional investment spending and impacted our Ebitda generation.” - Tom Harty, CEO of Meredith (New York Post)
  • “Magazine publishers have lost their way in focusing so much attention on millennials and Generation Z. Their biggest asset is still baby boomers who have plenty of money to spend. Meredith will have to focus more attention on the audience Meredith has and knows.” - Samir Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi (Wall Street Journal)

This week in our office
There’s still time to register for our Analytics Lab on September 19th! Join us in San Francisco for a day-long workshop where we’ll share best practices and insights from The Atlantic’s data experts and provide hands-on exercises to help you apply this knowledge to your own work. Click here to learn more about the day's programming (spoiler: Atlantic staff writer Alexis Madrigal will be making an appearance). Use code ALAB2019 for a discount on your ticket.

Some news about our favorite 162-year-old magazine: The Atlantic launched its new digital subscription service on Thursday. Read the letter from The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg.

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