We use cookies to further personalise and enhance the user experience, conduct analytical research (for example, counting visits and traffic sources), place advertisements and contact third parties. Users can manage their cookie settings by clicking the "Choose your preferences" link.

Cookie policy
Published 2024-06-27

”Listen to young people – include them in conversations like this”

35 percent of Swedes, primarily young people and women, often avoid news because it makes them feel distressed. In a panel discussion with, among others, Sweden’s Minister of Culture Parisa Liljestrand at Almedalsveckan, Schibsted Media’s Agnes Stenbom presented new solutions to capture young people’s interest in news – and transform skepticism into engagement.

Parisa Liljestrand, kulturminister, Kalle Sandhammar, Utbildningsradion, Agnes Stenbom, Schibsted Media, Abdulrahman Bulale och Catalina Negrei, Fryshuset, moderator Henrik Torehammar, SvD, and Shade Amao, Fryshuset took part in the conversation about news avoiders.

The latest survey from the SOM Institute is brutal – 35 percent of Swedes, primarily young people and women, avoid news because they find it too negative and it makes them feel bad.

“This is a growing global trend. The typical news avoider is a woman with low socio-cultural capital living in rural or suburban areas. In the long run, this is of course unsustainable, for both democracy and for editorial media. But the trend can be reversed. We see this in our work with young people”, says Agnes Stenbom, Head of IN/LAB and Trust Initiatives at Schibsted Media.

Since spring 2022, she has been leading the work in Schibsted Media’s and the Tinius Trust’s inclusion lab IN/LAB with the mission to understand why so many young people avoid consuming news from editorial media and find innovative solutions to get more young people to discover, engage with, and trust independent journalism.

Finding solutions together

The work involves talking with, not about, those who currently stand far from editorial media and independent journalism, to find solutions together and in the long run transform skepticism into engagement.

Under the heading “How do we reach young people who want to avoid news?” Minister of Culture Parisa Liljestrand participated in a panel discussion organised by Schibsted Media on the Media stage in Almedalen. The conversation, moderated by SvD’s political commentator Henrik Torehammar, also included Agnes Stenbom, CEO of Utbildningsradion Radio Kalle Sandhammar, and Fryshuset’s operations manager Shade Amao, as well as Fryshuset ambassadors Catalina Negrei and Abdulrahman Bulale.

Parisa Liljestrand highlighted the work Schibsted Media is now doing to explore and learn more about what creates trust and what young people demand to engage with independent journalism. It is about taking responsibility from a democratic perspective.

“The fact that media houses are making such efforts – and time is spent on this type of analysis – shows that the democratic mission is taken very seriously. All honor. Media is doing that job. Politics needs to do that job. And the average person also needs to take that responsibility”, she said.

Agnes Stenbom presented four examples of areas young people are asking for more of in journalism, areas that have emerged from IN/LAB’s work:

  1. Content Versioning. The possibility for the consumer to choose the format through which news is conveyed.
  2. Transparency. More openness about chosen and omitted perspectives in news reporting.
  3. User Involvement. Easier ways for consumers to provide feedback to the media, and through that, shape both the product and the narrative.
  4. Hybrid News Experiences. A mix of content and experiences created by humans or AI.

Not equipped

Fryshuset’s Shade Amao stated that it is no news that young people avoid news. She welcomed new initiatives and innovations:

“We work in areas that experience exclusion. It can be encountering racism, not getting the first job, going to a school where teachers do not believe in you, or public institutions in the local community being shut down. These communities are not being equipped, and this stigmatizes them. Young people feel that the media describes a one-sided version of what happens to them. They do not recognize themselves at all.”

“We can state that we do not reach everyone, which is our clear mission and if we do not reach young people, we need to find other ways to do it. It requires curiosity, dialogue, and responsiveness, but also co-creation and identification”, summarized Kalle Sandhammar from the Educational Radio. And to achieve this, both media and society need to allocate resources.

“It is not a cost, but an investment in society”, he said.

Fryshuset ambassadors Catalina Negrei and Abdulrahman Bulale issued a challenge to the media executives in the audience:

“The first thing you should do is start listening to young people. Include them in conversations like this. Only then can you find the way forward to reach young news avoiders.