Courting millennials, promoting journalism
Kevin Slimp is chomping at the bit to quiz North Dakota millennials about how they get news.
He'll do so Oct. 17 during the Witham Symposium on Excellence in Newspapers.
And while that millennial focus group is still two weeks off, he's already planning to talk about it at presentations in other states next month.
"This is a really cool project and I'm excited to see what we can learn," said Slimp, known nationally as "the newspaper guru."
The millennial project is one of two initiatives NDNA is working on to try build readership and revenue for North Dakota newspapers.
The other is a proposal to establish a non-profit news gathering cooperative that would provide journalism for use by newspapers across the state.
NDNA President Karen Speidel, managing editor of the News-Monitor in Richland County, said the initiatives demonstrate the association's commitment to solidifying the role of newspapers as the primary source of news and information in the state.
"We're working hard to let people know that while social media is the shiny new toy in the world of communications, newspapers are a long-time steady hand that continues to go where no one else has gone."
Some 20 millennials will meet with Slimp during the symposium at the Bismarck Career Academy.
He'll quiz them on such topics as where they turn to get news, whether they believe news is important and why, do they understand the difference between journalism and social media, and what would make newspapers more attractive as their "go-to" source for news.
After two hours of discussion, newspaper professionals attending the symposium will be invited into the room for a conversation with the millennials.
When all is said and done, Slimp will provide a report to NDNA that will offer suggestions on how newspapers might make themselves more relevant to young people.
Meanwhile, the NDNA Education Foundation is seeking a $10,000 grant from The Consensus Council to Fund a feasibility study and business plan for the proposed North Dakota Journalism Cooperative.
The grant application notes that traditional media has lost revenue to new media that don't practice journalism.
The result is a decline in the amount of journalism available in the state.
The concept for the journalism cooperative is to identify funding sources that would support a staff of two journalists who would provide original reporting for use by newspapers, as well as aggregated news from across the state.