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Keys to Gen Z engagement for media companies: INMA report

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To engage the next generation of news readers, it’s critical for news media companies to learn not just how to deliver the news Gen Z is looking for, but to deliver it on the platforms where they live while ensuring they’re represented in the newsroom, according to a report released by the International News Media Association (INMA).

“What Gen Z + Media Need From Each Other” explores:

  • How and why platforms matter
  • Engaging and retaining Gen Z
  • Gen Z in the newsroom

The new report shares what research shows about Gen Z and explains what that means for news media companies.

Using six case studies from around the world, and drawing on research from the Reuters Institute, Pew Research Center, and Borrell Associates in the United States, the report looks at what companies are doing to connect with Gen Z, explains how it’s working, and shares what they have planned to continue attracting this important audience segment.

Written by INMA Ideas Blog Editor Paula Felps, “What Gen Z + Media Need From Each Other” details 3 key takeaways in engaging Gen Z:

1. Social media via their phone is a Zoomer’s preferred platform for news

For example, Funke Zentralredaktion of Germany created a TikTok channel on which it shares important news stories, targeting readers age 14 to 19. In one year, the channel gained almost 70,000 followers. The Australian’s weekly Instagram quiz — plus a revamped and styled account — brought a 22% increase in followers and a 393% increase in average daily reach.

2. This generation seeks authenticity and avoids crisis coverage

Zoomers can sniff out a marketing ploy and are leery of fake news. They are also overwhelmed by all the crises in the world during their lifetime, and many avoid news because of this. Making news more understandable and balanced is key to reaching this age group. The Wall Street Journal’s student membership programme is building lifelong habits and relationships with Gen Z readers while Dagens Næringsliv’s Fantasy Fund stock marketing game has attracted 21,275 players in 10 weeks.

3. Engaging this generation means hiring them

As Gen Z enters adulthood and becomes the next generation of news consumers, the old playbook needs to be rewritten for a digital-first world, according to the INMA report. This means understanding their platforms, like TikTok and YouTube, and their worldview, which is more global and connected than any other generation.

Additionally, engaging the 25-and-under generation means hiring them. Per the report, including Gen Z in the newsroom requires creating a Zoomer-friendly work environment with collaborative workspaces, flexible schedules, room for experimentation, and continuous skill development.

Among the report’s case studies are Germany’s Funke Zentralredaktion, The Australian, The Wall Street Journal in the United States, Norway’s Dagens Næringsliv, The News Movement in London, and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia.

“What Gen Z and Media Need From Each Other” is available for free to INMA members and registered users at All others can register and download here.