“Integrating the new generation of journalists is an opportunity to reposition your brand”

Three questions to Luc Petitfrère who will be leading the training course “How to manage the new generation of journalists”, on Tuesday 6 December between 3 and 4 pm, at the La Presse au Futur trade fair. Why is it so important to make the integration of young journalists a priority in newsrooms?

We are at a crossroads. We have moved from a single product – the newspaper, the magazine, the radio or the television… – to a multi-media one with digital. The tools are changing or evolving very quickly and who better than young journalists, who have been immersed in digital since birth, to help us transform our titles.

For editorial offices, the challenge is also to provide differentiated content for each of these channels. They therefore need to be strengthened, while at the same time undergoing a thorough reorganisation.

At the same time, we have to accept the fact that our ‘historical’ products no longer meet the expectations of the younger generation. We are in an era of constant interaction, live commentary, choice between multiple sources, and a lack of reliability in information.

The integration of this new generation of journalists is a real opportunity for our newsrooms to reposition their brand, to design new products and services more in line with the new expectations.

Register now for the training:
Comment manager la nouvelle génération  de journalistes

How do you explain this current crisis situation with such a gap in expectations between young journalists and editorial offices?

The newsroom managers we interviewed tell us that the defection of young journalists is a phenomenon that tends to accelerate. In fact, they belong to this generation that recognises that the Covid crisis has made them want to make changes in their careers. Let me quote the OpinionWay survey for Le Parisien Economie, conducted between August and September 2022. For these young people, this means achieving a better balance between professional and private life, preserving the current situation…

The examples are revealing, such as the young journalist applying for a sports media job and not wishing to work at the weekend or the one who, systematically at 5 p.m., the precise time of the end of his or her official working hours at the newspaper, switches off his or her professional mobile phone or knowingly refuses to answer it.

The previous generations entered journalism as if it were a kind of order. They believed in providing information at all costs. Family life forgotten, leisure time impossible… for many, it is information that has ruled our lives. 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, we were ready to give up everything to process information.

The gap between young and old is obvious. We no longer understand each other. This creates distortions and can destabilise an entire newsroom.

What levers should be used to better recruit and retain these young journalists?

Indeed, the moment of recruitment is fundamental. It allows you to give meaning to the job offered. It is therefore an opportunity for editors and human resources departments to work together: a precise job description, clear expectations, etc. No question should be avoided: fixed-term position, part-time work, adjustment of working hours, help with settling in, etc.

Let’s not forget the importance of allowing time to get to know the company: who does what?

The next step is to provide real support for the young professional: listening, discussion, adapted work schedule, better “framed” writing sessions, etc.
However, this does not mean fitting them into the “mould”. Let’s always keep in mind that these exchanges will allow us to imagine, design and create new products and services that meet the expectations of the younger generation.

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