Building news savvy: Best practices


Youth take over


Students take over a professional newsroom as part of the annual Projekt Junge Zeitung (Project Young Newspaper). More than 200 high-school and college-aged students in Germany, 16 to 22 years old, spend five months learning about journalism. During evenings and weekends, they prepare for the day they “take over.” Key staff members play supporting roles. The project’s “young newspaper” is published on a Saturday in the place of the newspaper’s regular edition, reaching 100,000 readers.


Frankfurter Neue Presse newspaper, based in Frankfurt, hosts the annual “takeover.” Why? To attract readers, interact with young people and recruit future journalists. The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WANIFRA) highlighted and promoted similar projects worldwide with this survey. (In spring 2018 in the United States, San Francisco’s KQED radio held a similar “youth takeover” with students from 10 Bay Area high schools.)


Students’ interest is growing — from 180 in 2008, when Projekt Junge Zeitung began, to more than 250 in recent years. A third of the students have joined the program more than once. WAN-IFRA highlighted it as one of five projects that promote news literacy. The American Press Institute commissioned WAN-IFRA’s Youth Engagement and News Literacy division to detail the scores of ways newsrooms help people understand how news works by engaging with young people.


Projekt Junge Zeitung recruits by contacting schools and youth clubs, advertising the project widely and contacting past participants. All students are welcome. Some six to eight companies help sponsor the program with packages ranging from 3,000 to 11,000 Euros. KQED’s  version  asked  students  to pitch story  ideas. 106 stories were submitted and published to the website, and 16 were aired via radio or podcasts.

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