As a student journalist and producer for Annenberg TV News on team Monday, I find myself in an interesting position of creating a newscast that appeals to an audience of college-age students while also being a relevant source of information for people outside of Gen Z.
I feel like the most exemplary way that my co-producer and I have tackled this is through our feature segments on USC students who do cool things that impact the community. A few weeks ago, the talk on campus and in the news was focused on the sexual assault allegations, the compromised safety of students and the evident neglect of students by the administration. In addition to our Team Monday news coverage of the sexual assault allegations, the protests occurring on campus, and the administration’s response, I thought that the story needed another layer of how community is being fostered through a different method than marching and protesting, but through coffee. A student-run organization called Cup of Troy serves a homemade brew and lattes at a variety of events from pop-up music shows near campus to sorority bonding events. Specifically, Cup of Troy responded to this noticeable tension on campus and upset students with catering a Panhellenic-sponsored event. Panhellenic is the umbrella organization for sororities and this event with the coffee company brought students from different sororities to sip some coffee, mingle and feel a sense of community during such a difficult and traumatic time. Cup of Troy may not be entirely relevant to the previous stories in the show that surrounded the sexual assault issues on campus, but it features an on-campus organization that is responding to an event through coffee and community to impact the overall wellbeing of students.
The second example of my co-producer and I creating content that directly impacts our audience of primarily college-age students was including a feature segment about an artist on campus. I know Jack Parker because he is an incredible artist who designs on canvas with spray paint. When I saw his work and how he got attention from a variety of magazines, I knew he would add a great artsy, cool, USC student element to the show since many people on campus know or have heard of him. I think it is important to spotlight students doing unique, passion-driven projects across campus because that type of content appeals to the audience since they want to either support their friends or see what their peers are accomplishing.
As I continue my career as a journalist, I think it is important to continually ask myself who is watching this newscast and why they should care. That concludes my unpacking of the Gen Z audience and how #TeamMonday has tried to tackle this issue of engaging our audience even across multiple demographics.
This story was written as an assignment in JOUR403: Television News Production with Professor Stacy Scholder. Annenberg Media student editors also reviewed the story and published it per newsroom guidelines.