16:45 - 17:15
Politics on WhatsApp: How we covered news for a young audience

Short thesis

WhatsApp is the most popular app among young people and yet, most publishers hesitate to use it for news distribution. In this session, I will talk about how we used the messaging app to cover news for 18-22 year olds, what we learned from their feedback and which challenges we encountered.


“How are politics relevant to me?” This is a question that many young people ask themselves, tired of news they cannot relate to. With the German general election coming up in September 2017, my team and I at Axel Springer Akademie wanted to answer this question and create content that really matters to our audience.

With our news format "shotty", we distributed news via WhatsApp, which 94% of young Germans favor over other social media apps. Our format was designed to inform and entertain, featuring voice messages, news digests and live reports via WhatsApp Status.

The name “shotty” is inspired by a shot of alcohol, which comes in small amounts and goes right to your brain. Shotty was developed by Team 21 of Axel Springer’s journalism school Axel Springer Akademie.