As we have established, journalism lives and thrives off of publishing stories on multiple different platforms. But is this also considered cross platform storytelling? In a sense it might be as you take one story and try to make it work in both the digital and the analog world.
Classic cross platform storytelling, however, is also about image, about the external view of a brand, in this case, a newspaper. Especially in journalism, the public connects individual papers to a specific societal viewpoint and even allocates them a place on the political spectrum. The associations the public creates are in a sense the result of the newspaper’s editorial policy being subtly advocated on multiple channels and delivered to the consumer.
Specific to the Target Audience
It is actually interesting to observe how newspapers deliver content differently depending on their specific target groups. They all have the underlying responsibility to inform but it goes without saying that different companies follow diverse patterns when it comes to cross platform storytelling – and therefore heavily influencing the average societal standing of their readership.
The papers which are read by people with a diverse but lower educational backgrounds can be noticed to use more imagery and a less text based form of communication regarding their various channels, as images are not only more appealing but often already communicate a large amount of what needs to be said. On the other hand you’ll find papers which purposefully target an audience with a higher educational or specific professional background. Especially on social media they use noticeably more text with the images posted, even opting for informative carousel posts with multiple slides full of explanatory texts. Publishing articles or social media posts which contain difficult terminology that heavily rely on the consumer’s prior knowledge will not attract a readership who most likely does not hold a university level education. Therefore, newspapers use their editorial policies consciously to create the readership they desire to have.
Catching the Young Generation
From a journalistic point of view it makes sense to use various different ways of output, but it also reveals information about the specific target audiences. When newspapers step into the realm of video platforms such as TikTok, which is mainly used by a younger audience, one can assume that there is a concept and idea behind it. This does not only broaden a newspaper’s way of putting news out but also indicates that the company is keen to appeal to younger audiences in order to get them interested in world news in their familiar media surroundings.
When media platforms communicate, they do so on multiple levels. Every approach to a topic and the resulting output has meaning and will either attract new target audiences or at least serve those well who have already been there.
No matter which target audience a newspaper is trying to attract, one of the most important aspects is consistency. If one decides on a direction it is important to try and apply those communication principles onto all the content that is published. If the message is inconsistent, the readership will catch up on those small imbalances and lose faith and trust in those who should be there to inform..