In November 2016, I embarked on a new professional adventure, co-leading a multidisciplinary group at a French-language journalism lab created by Radio-Canada. Our mission was to reach a new audience—millennials who have abandoned traditional platforms as information sources—where they get their news and information: on social media. Needless to say, the mission is very current, as media around the world are looking for ways to remain relevant to new generations.
When our team first met, we had to create everything from the ground up. We had to decide in what form the information would be communicated, and the tone to adopt. We also had to come up with a strategy for the delivery of the information. Our bosses asked a group of young employees to create content that reflects who they are, and to do it in their own way. They also threw in an extra challenge: to lead the project, they chose three people from three different fields: a strategist who had worked with advertising agencies; a digital supervisor from the videogame industry; and me, a journalist with 15 years of experience at Radio-Canada.
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A period of adjustment was needed. We had to learn to speak a common language. The journalism team familiarized itself with concepts like brand values, and the creative team learned about the realities of a career in journalism, while developing an understanding of Radio-Canada’s journalism standards and practices. Building this project was truly a team effort. It forced us all to question our certainties.
One of the first things we did was identify and discuss everything we liked on social media, in terms of information and entertainment. Our strategist, Gigi Huynh, went through many studies on millennials’ online habits, which revealed a number of things. First of all, it gave us some perspective about our target. Millennials make up the great majority of our target audience, but they’re not the only people whose information consumption habits have changed. So it made sense to define a larger, more inclusive target that was not limited to one age group. We decided our intended audience would be “digital citizens”: individuals who mainly consume content online.