Making Sense of the Pandemic for Young Readers
Overview of this campaign
The big idea: Educate, reassure and rally young readers to act as “ambassadors” within their own social circles of family, schoolmates and friends.
There were several issues to tackle, including the lack of age-appropriate and level-appropriate information for young readers; misinformation from many fronts including from their own families; the emotional fallout from the stress and anxiety over the situation, among other things.
We did this through three ways:
1. We tailored news articles, quizzes and explainers about the pandemic for readers aged 10 to 16. The content addresses their questions and fills gaps in understanding that empowers them to help themselves and others. Topics ranged from finance and politics to mental wellness.
2. We provided the content for free to all public school teachers in support of Singapore’s move to complete home-based learning that has so far lasted for over a month. The teachers used our content as a basis for their lessons, giving students an up-to-date view of world affairs while also addressing their curricula needs.
3. We used social media to engage with students aged 17 and up, with a focus on peer support and mental health. During the period of stay-home learning, we aimed to be a “friend” who could provide sound advice, support and reliable news in their social media feeds.
Results for this campaign
During this period, some 70 per cent of all students in Singapore aged 10 to 16 read our content via print and e-paper. This included our special editions on budget measures to reduce the fallout from the coronavirus on individuals, businesses and industries, as well as on the global health crisis as the coronavirus situation was deemed a pandemic.
As a result of reaching out to teachers and schools with free issues and lesson materials, we also managed to expand our reach to an additional 186 teachers from 105 schools, on top of our regular subscribers. This had a multiplier effect, as they in turn would have reached thousands of students from their own schools. This move also helped us build relationships with new audiences and decision-makers of potential subscriptions, for the future.
We also stayed true to our mission of cultivating young readers of tomorrow. We know that students aged 17 and older in post-secondary courses often speak of great academic and daily stress from school, friends and family. We were concerned that they would struggle at home during Singapore’s lockdown period of some two months. Through our Instagram account @st.tldr, we reached out to them by sending daily self-care tips and encouraging messages to develop the relationship we want to cultivate, alongside fun, friendly news to keep them updated even as they stayed home.
This is a long-term effort, and part of a larger plan to grow a new, younger audience for our parent paper The Straits Times.