Share: ONA Teams Take a Stab at Attracting Young Audiences

By | November 13, 2004

By Jeff Nachtigal — University of California-Berkeley (Nov. 13, 2004)

Five teams presented ideas on how to best attract the youth audience during the ONA’s inaugural Master of the Web Universe competition. In the final round, judges asked pointed questions about revenue sources and sex columns before picking a theoretical, longer-term approach that focused on communicating in the language of the target audience.

“When they pitched Miami Vice, the summary they used to describe it was MTV meets Cops,” said team spokesman Matthew Stanton. “The Jon Stewart-Craiglist model is what we’re starting with.”

“The mandate is not to be quick or fast, but to follow the news at all times. won’t be safe, but it will be real,” said Stanton, design editor at Journal Interactive in Milwaukee. “We want to talk in the language of this audience.”

In an effort to tap into the creative expertise of conference participants, the ONA introduced the friendly problem-solving competition to this year’s annual conference to brainstorm new ideas to better attract the coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic.

For this year, it was the ideas that looked beyond present-day technical gadgetry and models that resonated with the judges.

“People don’t talk about going on the Web anymore, they talk about how often they check their email,” said Team’s Stanton. “Our idea of the Web is that it’s like electricity; it’s there and we all use it.”

“Let’s take more of a Jon Stewart or Onion approach, and talk about things in a different way.”

Winner’s entry form

Give your presentation a name: Serving tAMPa, Florida. It’s like electricity. It’s there.

Briefly describe your presentation: It’s Jon Stewart’s CraigsList. An interactive visual guide that mixes today’s news, blogs, digital media and lots of user-generated content.

Action plan. What are the steps to implement it? It’s free to readers, but they must register to participate. Editors actively monitor the user-generated content and learn from it the tone and voice of the readers. It offers content related to real-life issues: Career, social life, leisure, places to live.

How does it address our judging criteria?

Originality: Strong focus on the target age group.

Sustainability: Focus on user-generated content.

Revenue potential: “Extend the bar to the bar” by taking non-traditional advertising that our parent newspaper doesn’t get or accept, like liquor.

Use of Medium: Web-based, with e-mail alerts on bar drink specials and garage band performances.

Audience draw: The best place in our town for 20-somethings.

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