Creating a TV news show is a challenge. Creating a TV news show for a Gen Z audience is even more challenging. But, with the knowledge I’ve gained from JOUR 403: Television and News Production, I feel equipped for the task.
The audience of ATVN varies, but it’s important to make the show appealing to younger audiences since that is a large part of the USC student population. As a producer, I am always thinking about how to target this demographic that most frequently gets their news from social media.
To appeal to this younger audience, I make a habit of gathering story ideas from social media in addition to finding stories from local and national news organizations. A large part of my work as a producer for ATVN pertains to pitching story ideas. To inform my story ideas, I follow different student organizations’ Instagrams so I can stay up to date on news that’s happening on campus. I reach out to sources via Instagram and Twitter instead of a traditional email, because, to be frank, much of ATVN’s younger audience check their social media faster than their emails (sorry, professors!)
In addition to searching for sources through social media, this week’s show added a student-centric flare. In this past Wednesday’s show, with the tremendous help from ATVN’s tech team, I was able to incorporate a live reporter in front of Tommy Trojan at USC and a live reporter at Wilson Plaza at UCLA that aired during the show. The idea was seemingly simple: have one reporter at USC and one at UCLA to capture student excitement ahead of the USC-UCLA football game. I assigned our live reporters, Marilyn Parra and Tatum Larsen, to find a student to interview and plan with them a live Q&A to be aired on the show. This appeals to the young audience in many ways: students love watching other students, the Trojan-Bruin rivalry is an enticing one and the value of the live shot is something that, regardless of age, would be interesting to see.
The mosaic of news consumers continuously shifts. I’m still figuring out how to captivate Gen Z. But, social media outreach and live interviews are a place to start.