News for young adults

Hanno Settele, ZiB Magazin

“Hello, my name is Hanno Settele. I work for the Austrian public broadcasting company ORF. After spending ten years in Washington DC as a correspondent, ORF has recently put me on an even more challenging assignment: producing public television news for the younger demographic, for the generation 20 to 40. All shows combined we generate about an hour of news right out of this studio every day. It’s a difficult demographic to reach, especially with TV news. Nevertheless, when it comes to content we are not willing to make odd compromises just for the sake of reaching out to that audience. That is, not all of them, but very many of them thought to be not particularly interested in television news. In contrast to some powers that be I do strongly believe that it does make a difference, a big difference, who and what stands behind news outlets, who owns them, who runs them and most importantly, what their final purpose is. If the answer to that question is generating profits, then so be it. But that is not our primary goal here at ORF or, I believe, any other public broadcasting company. Our goal is different: in our case we want to make sure that information for young adults is not entirely dependent on their own very personal choices of twitter, facebook or you name it accounts – on that rather random and in almost all cases rather narrow slice of the news spectrum. The goal is to provide a reliable and independent source of news where the word ‘accountability’ actually means what it says. Accountability every day and towards everybody. In order to achieve that goal we at ORF eins have assembled a news team that is young, innovative and open to experiments. And please don’t get a wrong impression – I am by far the oldest member of that team. Innovative ways of explaining complex matters is what we go for, is our main goal. In an era where 50 inch TV’s are the norm it’s just not enough anymore to have some talking head lay it out there, no matter how brilliant her or his input may be. It takes more than that to generate interest for news programs among 25-year-olds. They feel best informed when they select the information channels of their own choosing at their own time almost exclusively through the internet. This audience will never accept us or any other news outlet if we deliver the news from some imaginary high point, from some imaginary throne of ‘we know it all’. Our only chance to attract them to news, to television news, is to provide television news that are delivered on eye level with them, our viewers. News whose validity is unquestioned and uncompromised 24/7, 365. Which brings me to the final and most important asset I can think of: news that are provided and produced by a group of independent accountable and innovative journalists who do not make common cause with anybody.

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Public Value Bericht 2017/18