A recent study from DECODE for the World Association of Newspapers provides some very positive opportunities for newspaper companies.
The Canadian-based company polled young people in three countries (the U.S., Netherlands and Finland) and found a strong level of interest in news among youth. It concludes that parents and teachers (not peers) play a strong role in modeling traits for readership and that there are particular opportunities to reach young people when they leave home. Social networks can be allies in reaching the young reader.
But too often the newspaper content isn't relevant. Young people want more information on music and film. Politics ranks much lower. And TV is still viewed as more credible.
The message from the study is that there are options, but newspaper companies need to find ways to emphasize the strength of content across multiple platforms.