“Actionable News” Sites Reach Millennials With News They Can Use


How do you share news with a demographic that has grown up online in an era of instant gratification? A Pew Research study released last month, provides a clue.  The Millennial generation, as defined by Pew Research as those born after 1980, are less trusting of traditional institutions and are more connected with their social networks when compared with previous generations. That’s why news sites targeting Millennials are exhibiting subtle differences in how they deliver news, now employing more social media tools for sharing information as well as curating and crowdsourcing news to enhance the traditional model of reporter-produced content. PolicyMic, which publishes “stories that matter most to [the Millennial] generation” and RYOT are taking “actionable news” to a new level.

These outlets encourage engagement and interaction, connecting news of the day to pop culture to reach those who would otherwise not be interested. RYOT employs a curation model, with each piece accompanied by an “action box” which allows readers to take action related to the piece—donating to an organization to impact the issue, signing a petition or spreading the news on their social networks. What can we learn from all of this? The days when the public affairs playbook, regardless of target audience, mandated outreach to The New York Times, The Washington Post and broadcast talking heads to move the ball on an issue, are long gone. When trying to engage Millennials, go to their turf, give them an immediate opportunity to take action and use social tools to spread the word.