World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

New book on social lives of networked U.S. teens offers intelligence for elsewhere

New book on social lives of networked U.S. teens offers intelligence for elsewhere

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Publishers don’t need to be on every platform teens use but their content had better be easily shared, according to Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd in her new book "It's Complicated". Even that, she said in an interview with the American Press Institute, “requires a huge mindset shift for organizations that are used to having complete control. To be relevant today requires letting go of control."

Danah Boyd's comment was part of an interview with Kevin Loker of the American Press Institute (API) done for the country's News in Education (NIE) Week (3-7 March) and is part of API'S "Good Questions" series of interviews with bright people who might have some answers for our ever-changing industry.

  >>The full API interview with Danah Boyd is HERE


Danah Boyd, who is offering a PDF of her book for free (see below) is a principal pesearcher at Microsoft Research, a research assistant professor in media, culture, and communication at New York University, and a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Her research examines where technology, youth and society intersect, and current specific interests include questions related privacy and publicity, youth meanness and cruelty, "big data" and human trafficking.

Her findings and conclusions fit well with innovative news publishers who truly listen to and enable the young as part of their own efforts to assure a literate, civic-minded new generation. For example, Boyd argues on the site introducing the book “that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions.”  Such a view would clearly make sense to publishers who have disseminated WAN-IFRA's "Internet in the Family" Guide that leaves it to the family to set up a code for online use as well, to  those who have turned over control of the organization's news offer for even a day and to those who treat youth as normal human beings.

>> More HERE about It's complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, including access to a free PDF.

A second interview is with Jennifer Coogan, the chief content officer at Newsela, a young educational technology startup that teaches reading comprehension through news articles. 

"It's a pretty interesting idea," Loker notes, "sometimes news is hard to read for young people who are unfamiliar with language or histories relevant to the current events. Newsela tries to help make everything easier to understand for youth at various reading levels -- all without talking down to the reader." You can read that interview HERE. .


WAN-IFRA has compiled 10 tips with examples of success for publishers who want to create an effective underpinning for any and all kinds of engagement with the young at several life stages.  Among them is the need to keep youth nearby in ways that allow them to have a real influence and find ways to use and adapt intelligence such as Boyd's work: from all over about youth at particular life stages as there is more and more similarity among, for example, secondary school students in many places and especially in terms of digital use, than among those in one country lumped together as "Millennials." The full list of 10 tips and case briefs can be dowloaded at the bottom of this page. 



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Aralynn McMane's picture

Aralynn McMane


2014-03-03 17:52

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The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) helps newspapers, parents and teachers work together to engage the young to create a literate, civic-minded new generation of readers all over the world. Read more ...