Youth appeal

TORONTO — How do Catholic media reach young people — those in high school or young adults? A group of young Canadian journalists offered their insights on that at the 2008 Catholic Media Convention.

“If you don’t have a Web site, you don’t exist” in the eyes of young people, said Pedro Guevara-Mann, a producer with Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation in Toronto. “And if it’s a crappy Web site, you do not exist.”

In a conversational workshop with media personnel from the U.S., Canada and Asia, the young journalists gave some tips:

– Youth want honesty, and they want to know how it is relevant to them now.

– Young people want to consume media on their own terms, so the Internet is attractive. They have multiple sources of news and can choose what they want to look at, as opposed to being limited to what a newspaper chooses to publish.

– Newspapers and other publications should not underestimate young people. Although special sections aimed at young people might draw them in to reading, young people also might be interested in other sections of the publication.

Guevara-Mann and Carolyn Girard, youth editor at the Toronto-based national weekly The Catholic Register, also spoke of the importance of using young people to report on young people. The Catholic Register and Salt & Light began extensive use of younger people after World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002.

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