Posts Tagged ‘theCramm’


Photo: theCramm
Olivia Seltzer is the 15-year-old founder and sole writer of
theCramm. She started theCramm after the 2016 presidential election to help young people keep abreast of news they care about. 

I am dazzled by the young people who are making themselves heard above the din of these trying times: environmentalists such as Greta Thunberg and ThisIsZeroHour, gun-safety-advocates such as David Hogg and Emma González, who both survived the February 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida — and many others. Now from TeenVogue, a remarkably mature truth-telling magazine, comes this story about a teen who saw a void and started her own news outlet. And she’s not the only one.

Rainesford Stauffer writes at Teen Vogue, “In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, Olivia Seltzer, now 15, noticed a shift at school.

” ‘Basically overnight, all we could talk about was politics and what was going on in the world,’ she tells Teen Vogue. Many of her peers in Santa Barbara, California, had parents who were undocumented immigrants, so the issues in the news hit close to home. Suddenly the personal felt very much political. ‘This massive interest in the news and politics came with an equally massive gap in the media,’ Seltzer continues. ‘Traditional news sources are primarily written by and geared toward an older demographic, and unfortunately, they don’t always connect to my generation.’

“That’s a problem, and an urgent one. Though a free press is crucial to democracy, more than one in four local newspapers have closed since 2004, and more Americans are getting their news from social media than traditional print media. Keeping young people engaged is necessary to foster civic engagement, and Seltzer wants to help close the gap.

“In February 2017, she launched theCramm, which offers a daily look at major stories from around the world, distilled into a newsletter that lands in email and text inboxes each weekday. Every day, she rises at 5 AM to read the news before school, poring over outlets, including the BBC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, Politico, and Reuters, among others, to ensure readers are receiving an ‘unbiased point of view with the news.’

“Seltzer works with an editorial team that helps research stories and finds inspiring individuals to interview for the newsletter, an advisory board comprised of ‘trusted adults,’ and ‘theCramm Fam,’ ambassadors from around the world who promote theCramm. …

“A recent survey by Common Sense Media found that 78% of American teens ages 13 to 17 say it’s important to them to follow current events. Young adults are more likely to consume news through social media sites than they are traditional news organizations, online or in print, but that isn’t necessarily a negative when it comes to news. Teens who use social media are more likely to be civically engaged, and smartphone users who engage with social media report they’re more regularly exposed to people who have different backgrounds, and feel like they have more diverse networks. …

“Instead of staring at cable news, they’re pioneering new ways to engage with the stories that meet them where they are. This isn’t just a matter of style, like how theCramm breaks down big stories into witty, need-to-know facts; it’s medium too. Seltzer … decided to create an option for people to receive theCramm via text. ‘I don’t think other news sources or a lot of people are aware that young people don’t really use email addresses,’ she says. …

“Sofia Frazer, a 16-year-old activist, runs the account @dailydoseofwokeness, which has over 30,000 followers and features story highlights on Sudan, mental health, and the 2020 presidential candidates, among others. After reading about the murder of Virginia teen Nabra Hassanen and the livestreamed police killing of Philando Castile, Frazer realized important stories weren’t being discussed with the depth they deserved. ‘In this day and age, the news is more inflammatory than it is informative,’ she tells Teen Vogue. …

“Frazer feels that Instagram makes it possible to get young people thinking about current issues. … She says, ‘If we want to continue the global conversation about young people taking the lead, people need to know how to access these kids and how to grab their attention.’…

“Within Instagram, there are different ways of reaching audiences and starting conversations. [Sixteen-year-old Anjali Kanda, an admin for the Instagram account @brown.politics,] engages followers via polls on Instagram stories and records videos, like the one she recently posted explaining the scandal surrounding financier and accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. ‘People also tend to reply back to stories with questions or actually wanting to start an open discussion,’ she says. ‘I’ve gotten some really thoughtful insights from people replying to stories.’ …

“Seltzer points out that textbooks exist for math, science, English, and history — areas of study and focus from kindergarten onward. Media literacy doesn’t receive the same kind of attention in school. ‘We don’t have any source to learn about politics and what’s going on in the world,’ she says. ‘We’re just expected, when we turn 18, to all of a sudden be able to vote and know who we’re going to vote for. It takes time to actually cultivate a political knowledge and standing.’ ”

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