Making India proud
I-Next designated as the 2012 World
Young Reader Newspaper of the Year

"I-Next did an excellent job. We found it especially interesting that youth considered corruption the number one topic of concern. The other two projects entered, which contributed to its Newspaper of the Year status, also showed creativity and relevance. The investigative report and campaign about heavy back-packs truly made a difference, and the folk singing contest was a fresh approach to youth entertainment,” opined the prize jury appreciating I-Next’s endeavours.

Alok Sanwal (second from the left) COO of I-Next receiving the 2012 World Young Reader Newspaper of the Year award from Jacob Mathew (extreme right), president of WAN-IFRA and executive editor & publisher, Malayala Manorama Group of Publications.
The country’s leading newspaper dedicated to youth, I-Next recently made India proud, taking top World Young Reader Prize for 2012 in the annual Young Reader Prize competition from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), which awarded 21 prizes to 19 newspapers and a newspaper printing plant from 13 countries that have found innovative ways to attract young people to the news. In addition to receiving this prestigious award, I-Next also won the top award in the public service category for a project that encouraged 18 to 25 years olds to vote.

What they actually did…

I-Next’s ‘Power of Youth’ project was an initiative to encourage youth to take part in the largest event of the largest democracy in the world – the assembly elections. “Youth in India are becoming more and more indifferent towards the politics and not exercising their fundamental right to vote to choose their leaders. This was an alarming situation for us as a representative of youth of North India and we decided to change the status quo,” said Alok Sanwal, COO of the paper.

Top prize winners, clockwise from top left: I-Next (India), The Star (Malaysia), Westdeutsche Zeitung (Germany), RotOcéan (France, La Réunion), Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippines), Aftonbladet (Sweden), El Nuevo Día (USA, Puerto Rico) and Polskapresse (Poland). Below, winners with their awards just after the ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand, at the first WAN-IFRA Asia-Pacific Young Reader Summit in July.

The project featured a comprehensive survey across eight cities, which was intended to map young voters’ political priorities. I-next then published a series of vibrant spreads decrypting the survey results, and launched an action-oriented ‘I-vote’ movement encouraging young people to vote. This campaign helped to draw young people and first-time voters to the polls in record numbers, boosting voter turnout to 60-64 percent in February’s polls from around 46 percent in the last elections polls. The elections saw the highest turnout in 30 years and the election of the youngest-ever state chief minister. The paper also led a campaign to increase awareness of overweight backpacks that children carried to school and ran an interactive folk song music contest.


I-Next: standing high!
The awards to all the winners were presented on July 10 in Bangkok during WAN-IFRA’s first Asia-Pacific Young Reader Summit which drew newspaper publishers and other news media executives from 25 countries. The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) annually awards the World Young Reader Prizes to newspapers that have devised the best project or activity to attract young readers. About this year’s awards, Aralynn McMane, executive director of WAN-IFRA young readership development conveyed, “Prize winners show that newspapers can successfully appeal to younger audiences in the digital age. This year’s winners offer a fantastic set of examples for how to capture and captivate this audience at that key point in their lives when they will or will not become interested for life in a multi platform relationship with their newspaper.”

With its relatively young populations and growing literacy, it is no surprise that Asia is leading the way on strategies to attract young people to newspapers, on all platforms.

“Youth matter more today than ever. This is not only as future readers and opinion makers, but because, right now, they are spearheading important changes in all facets of life, technology and civil society,” said Jacob Mathew, president of WAN-IFRA while presenting the awards. “According to the United Nations, 62 percent of the world’s 15 to 24 years olds live in Asia. That means almost two out of every three people in that age group are in this region. Thus it makes sense for WAN-IFRA’s new focus on young readership development within regions of the world starting in Asia. We must start early and connect often,” he added.


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