Production Blogs

Generating content for Gen Z

An analysis of how ATVN appeals to a young audience

A photo of ATVN Wednesday's entertainment reporter on the studio couch with a Native filmmaker talking about LA Skins Fest.

Studies show that most young people stay current with the news passively by consuming it on social media platforms and their phones.

At first glance, a 30-minute newscast like Annenberg TV News (ATVN) doesn’t seem to fit the mold for what appeals to Gen Z. But, ATVN is unique because it provides a curated collection of news stories that viewers — specifically USC students and alumni — can participate in and relate to on a deeper level than other forms of news media.

Wednesday’s ATVN show skewed towards our younger audience with USC-focused stories like the USC vs. UCLA rivalry and topics relevant to Gen Z, such as mental health and diversity and inclusion. For example, our entertainment reporter, Anaja Smith, interviewed a USC School of Cinematic Arts alumna and filmmaker about Native American representation in the film industry and a Native American film festival called LA Skins Fest.

As producers, we are strategic about what stories we tease at the beginning of the show and before breaks. We ask ourselves, ‘What video is the most captivating? What stories will excite our audience and encourage them to keep watching?’

This week, we started the show off by teasing three stories: the UC lecturers strike averted, USC Conquest headliner revealed, and Staples Center becoming Arena.

Although only the Conquest story directly relates to USC, we found creative ways to connect the other two stories to USC. We referenced a letter to the Daily Trojan published earlier this semester that called for more tenure positions for adjunct professors at USC and interviewed a USC Annenberg professor about the economic significance of stadium naming rights.

ATVN also fosters a place for meaningful interactions — not just with students but also with faculty.

At the end of our Wednesday shows, we take a ‘Meta-Moment,’ where our news anchors, Anisha Banerjee and Luke Scorziell, learn a mindfulness technique from a USC mindfulness expert.

We brought Dr. Pamela Tobi Fishel, a clinical associate professor of pediatrics, to the studio this week to engage in singing bowl meditation. Through this fun series, we connect with a segment of USC’s faculty while highlighting the importance of mindfulness to our younger audience.

Check out this Wednesday’s ATVN show to see what other Gen Z content we included!

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.