World Association of News Publishers

Newsworthy Characters: A Practical Guide to Character Building

Newsworthy Characters: A Practical Guide to Character Building


Conferences come and go, but some have a lasting impact.

The recently completed World Young Reader Summit and Ideathon is one that will last, thanks to "Newsworthy Characters: A Practical Guide to Character Building," which was launched during the conference, organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) in Denpasar, Indonesia last week.

"Newsworthy Characters" argues that the habit of reading the news is a powerful tool for schools to promote character development. Jointly published by The Jakarta Post and Kompas newspapers and supported by WAN-IFRA, the book is a guide to teaching virtues that help form good character, particularly if taught at an early age.

 The bilingual book, in English and Bahasa Indonesian, was used immediately at the conference for a workshop involving more than 250 English teachers.

The book focuses on virtues like love, responsibility, discipline, honesty, compassion, cooperation, and creativity and suggests that schools create activities to promote them. WAN-IFRA worked with the authors to include freedom of expression among the virtues, to reflect its importance for children’s learning and developing their creativity and to celebrate Indonesia's support for press freedom, a rarity in the region.

For more information about the book, contact

"Newsworthy Characters" was just one of the initiatives to emerge from the World Young Reader Summit and Ideathon, which provided participants with strategies from more than a dozen news organisations on how to attract young people to news.

“The goal in this ‘Ideathon’ was for people who are already good at youth engagement to have the chance to think through at least one idea for what to do next, to get far enough along while they are still here to be able to really start work on it when they got home,” said Aralynn McMane, Executive Director for Youth Engagement and News Literacy at WAN-IFRA.

Hosts for the conference were Kompas Daily, The Jakarta Post Foundation and Chevron, with support from the Bali Post, Jawa Pos, SPS, the Indonesian publishers association, and Garuda Indonesia airline.

In all, nearly 150 participants from 19 countries attended the event, which included presentation of the 2014 World Young Reader Prizes and 7-minute “Laureate Pitches”,  case studies from more than two dozen of this year’s winners.

The 2014 winners included:

Amedia group (Norway) was named Word Young Reader Newspaper of the Year for its actions including a study of the same 3,500 young people since 2008, a daily youth enhancement tip for all the group’s editors, workshops and resources for using the news in education and other initiatives.

Mindener Tageblatt (Germany) for Azubify - a multiplatform set of tools to help companies and youth connect for apprenticeships. The award special category was supported by Chevron.

Volksblad (South Africa) for SkoolBLUES, interactive comic strip for teenagers.

VietnamPlus for “Rapping the News”. This special category award was supported by CCI and honors the news publisher that most creatively engages the young through mobile telephones, tablets and other digital devices.

The Star (Malaysia) for the R.AGE news and social media youth initiative.

Singapore Press Holdings (Singapore) for The Straits Times Schools Programme – a decade-old youth engagement approach that continues to innovate.

Gazeta do Povo (Brazil) for the "Read and Think" news in education programme that continues to offer methods and solid, useful research.

The Mathrubhumi Daily (India) for a "Free The Tree" campaign by youth to stop advertisements being attached to trees. This special category was supported by GreenTEC Campus of Germany.

Schleswig-Holsteinischer Zeitungsverlag (Germany) for a Tablet Class program that offers equipment and training to raise awareness among students of news on tablet devices.

Jakarta Post [Foundation] (Indonesia) for “Youth Speak Fun Day”, a language festival of competitions, news simulations, games and entertainment to help strengthen the English skills of 15- to 17-year-olds. It was supported by Capital of Children of Denmark.

The Guardian (UK) for a highly interactive children's book website where children read, write and publish reviews, connect with other young readers and have face-to-face interview authors.

Details about the other winners can be found at http:/

WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Frankfurt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore and India, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses.

Inquiries to: Aralynn McMane, Executive Director for Youth Engagement and News Literacy, WAN-IFRA, 96 bis, rue Beaubourg, 75003 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 18. Fax: +33 1 42 78 92 33. E-mail:

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To help create a new generation of civic-minded, literate readers, news publishers must also assure that young people learn about the work and importance of professional journalism. Thanks to more than a decade of World Young Reader Prize entries, we have a wealth of examples of how to do just that. Read more ...

WAN-IFRA offers its members and the industry a number of prestigious awards competitions to benchmark their activities with the best of the world, as well as paying tribute to journalists throughout the world in their fight for press freedom. Read more ...

Over the year, WAN-IFRA organises approximately 20 international and region­ally focused conferences. Read more ...

The World Young Reader Prize honors excellence in new publisher engagement of the young in all ways on all platforms. Read more ...

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 ...