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How can journalism stay relevant for GenZ?


How can journalism stay relevant for GenZ?

Picture of Lars Boering
Lars Boering — Director European Journalism Centre
September 27, 2023

In the recent ReutersDigital News report 2023 it was revealed that less than one third of the 18 to 24 year olds are interested in news and that trust in news is very low

The worry about what the so-called GenZ is, or will be, doing with news and journalism is identified and discussed in many conferences now. In a recent presentation at the B-future festival in Bonn one of the points mentioned was the fact that we can’t use the container term ‘the youth’ since GenZ is the most fragmented generation ever in terms of news usage and news literacy.

Today’s generation of social natives is fundamentally different from all the previous ones. They largely lack the relevance and perspective in the traditional news offer.

In order to take action it is important to understand what we are talking about and to build on existing knowledge. A recent literacy study, commissioned by #Use the news Netherlands, done by the Journalismlab (Hogeschool Utrecht) gives journalism the needed insights. The study, for which nearly eighty sources were reviewed and compared, now provides a clear and measured understanding of what we need to know about the relationship between young people and news. However, it is not just a status update and overview, but above all a call for further thought and action and, where necessary, critical (self)reflection. Some interesting points worth mentioning:

  • the first conclusion is that young people have a broad understanding of what news is. They see news as everything that is currently happening in the world and important to their lives. News, according to them, is recent, current and factual.
  • Compared to mainstream media, alternative media, according to young people, relate more to their personal interests. Moreover, these media help them broaden their horizons. They also feel that these media make often clearer what point of view is being taken, something they see less in mainstream media. 

Where do we go from here?

European Journalism Centre (EJC) and #UseTheNews Netherlands have entered into a partnership and will work together to make news media in the Netherlands and in Europe future-proof. Both independent non-profit organizations believe news media need to reshape themselves in the rapidly developing world of social media and AI. Among other things, the two parties will exchange content and knowledge and make both available to the news sector as an impetus for sustainable change.

EJC sees the need for journalism to re-imagine itself, especially in times when the trust in media, freedom of the press and the unhindered flow of information are under pressure, with lasting consequences. 

#UseTheNews has a goal to work with young people to prevent news media from losing contact with young audiences. By working not only with young people but also with journalists and researchers, #UseTheNews aims to empower the voice of young people. The foundation wants to encourage news media to develop innovative and constructive forms of journalism that better connect with new generations.

EJC and #UseTheNews will present the first concrete joint actions and projects later this year.


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