The Washington Post
this week announced a plan to boost readership among younger and more diverse audiences. It’s an important initiative and likely will require a heavy presence on
social media to reach these demographic groups.
The paper’s Next
effort will be led by executives from the business and editorial sides. Bradley Lautenbach, head of commercial marketing, and Phoebe Connelly, an editorial director, will oversee the
strategy to engage younger audiences, according to an announcement.
Lautenbach oversees business-to-business marketing activities and leads a team that develops advertising
technology. Connelly has worked at WaPo for eight years, most recently as deputy director of video, leading daily news coverage and video partnerships.
will add full-time and part-time people from a variety of departments throughout the company for the Next Generation initiative in the next few weeks. The goal will be to boost revenue and continue to
grow national and global subscriptions.
Reaching younger, more diverse audiences is an important initiative amid the changing demographics of U.S. consumers. News audiences
tend to skew older and rely on more traditional media outlets to stay informed.
Social media has changed the equation, with younger consumers more likely than older
generations to rely on social media for news. About half (53%) of U.S. adults say they get their news from social media at least sometimes, according to a Pew Research study
Facebook is the biggest source of timely information,
with 36% of U.S. adults saying they regularly get news on the site. Among that group, 63% are ages 18 to 49, while the remainder are ages 50+.
Google’s YouTube also is
popular, with 23% of adults regularly getting news on the video-sharing platform. About two-thirds (67%) of its regular news consumers are ages 18 to 49, making the group twice as big as the older
Amid these differences in news consumption, WaPo will have to create content that not only appeals to younger generations, but also is more likely to engage
them on social-media apps.