By Zack Anderson, ONA Intern
COLUMBUS – The Independent celebrated turning 150 on July 3. And part of that celebration included Massillon’s daily newspaper partnering with a much younger organization, the less-than-a-year-old Massillon Young Professionals.
“For The Independent to last another 150 years in whatever form, in whatever platform it’s publishing on, you know, we need to be relevant and engage with the next generations of the community,” said Mark Colosimo, The Independent’s general manager, “and I think that’s why it was important that we did something with the young professionals group.”
According to a March 2013 report from the Newspaper Association of America, in a typical week 54 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds consume newspaper content in print or online, and that number is even higher adding in those who access content on a mobile device each month. But several of Ohio’s newspapers are trying to reach this audience through more ways than just editorial content, including partnerships with young professionals groups and advertising campaigns.
Meet-and-greet for The Independent’s 150th
Massillon’s young people, especially those not originally from the area, need to know that The Independent is more than just a 32-page newspaper published six-days-a-week, Colosimo said.
“We’re updating on our mobile websites,” he said. “We’re updating on our desktop website. And, you know, we’re on Twitter and Facebook 24/7.”
And on July 11, the newspaper could also be seen at Buffalo Wild Wings in downtown Massillon, where young professionals gathered for a business after-hours event in honor of The Independent’s 150th anniversary. The Independent, a GateHouse Ohio Media newspaper, partnered with the Massillon Young Professionals to hold the event.
According to Colosimo, 30-35 people attended. While no more events are currently planned, he said he wants to leverage the success of the first one and thinks they will do another young professionals event in the future.
“It doesn’t make sense not to,” he said.
And that’s not only because young professionals are part of The Independent’s readership.
“These are going to be the people that are running Massillon’s businesses someday and making advertising decisions, and we need to continue to grow and foster those relationships,” Colosimo said.
Canton newspaper and young professionals honor 20 under 40
Less than 10 miles east of Massillon, another GateHouse Ohio Media newspaper is also reaching out to young professionals. On June 4, Canton’s The Repository partnered with county young professionals group ystark! to recognize the top 20 young people in Stark County.
A record of over 200 people were nominated to be recognized at this year’s “Twenty under 40!” event.
“I think that speaks for how many young professionals we have in this area that people really think highly of that they want to recognize them for their work,” said Dayna Yurkovich, the marketing manager for GateHouse Ohio Media who represented the newspaper on the event committee and was also the committee chair.
“I just happened to serve double-duty this year,” Yurkovich said, saying a representative from both The Repository and ystark! are always involved.
In addition to the event, The Repository also publishes a special section recognizing the winners. This comes out two Sundays before the event and is available both online and in print.
“People are constantly sharing that through social media and posting it, emailing the winners and congratulating them,” Yurkovich said.
The Repository and ystark! have held the event for six years. In fact, Yurkovich, who has been at The Repository for almost three years, said “Twenty under 40!” began the same year as ystark! itself.
“We’re a major news source that’s here,” said Yurkovich, a young professional herself. “We have so many different elements through print and online, and we want to keep engaging that younger community.”
A younger face for Findlay’s The Courier
The Courier in Findlay is over 170 years old. But in an ad campaign this summer, the paper has been represented by someone much younger.
“What we happened to find is a young lady that is I would say early 30s, and she reads the paper,” said Mary Borer, The Courier’s brand manager. “She’s been a long-time subscriber.”
Starting in June, 30-year-old Lindsay Diller has been featured in The Courier’s print product, online and even on billboards, and Borer is working on a radio ad now. The campaign features photos of her holding a copy of the printed newspaper, drinking coffee and testifying that the print product is still worth reading.
“It’s good to get a little ink on your hands!” reads Diller’s testimonial, written completely by her.
The idea for the ad campaign came about when Diller was part of a leadership group visiting the newspaper. During the visit, Diller told The Courier’s staff that she hoped they never stop printing the physical paper.
Borer then followed up with Diller about doing the campaign, and so far she said it has been going very well.
“She’s young,” Borer said. “She works at the arts partnership here in town. Super cute, super friendly. A lot of people know her, and she has been inundated with well-wishes and calls and even letters. People are even handing her the newspaper with her photo in it.”
“It’s been very humbling,” Diller said.
Diller’s is the first reader testimonial that The Courier has featured, but Borer said they plan to do more in the future, even if not every featured reader is of Diller’s age.
The core demographic of The Courier’s readership is about 20 years older then Diller, Borer said. But she said it’s a misconception that the newspaper only caters to everybody’s parents, saying instead they attract all generations.
And Diller said she thinks her generation isn’t just going to the internet for The Courier’s content, either. People still appreciate print media.
For Diller, this is because of tradition. She remembers mom and dad splitting the newspaper, with dad first taking the sports section and mom the news, all over breakfast and coffee.
“It’s more nostalgic,” Diller said. “There’s something about actually having a newspaper in your hands.”