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Covering elections and post-elections: what students care about

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by Cyndi Hyatt

Record numbers of citizens voted in this now contested presidential election, and the outcome of Tuesday’s contest may not be known for days.  And although most high school students cannot yet vote, they still have opinions and cares about the government and their future.  

Whoever wins Tuesday will set the tone for the next four years affecting these students as they come of legal age.

Students should be covering this election, but they first need to first ask what are the issues that affect their generation most and will have the greatest impact on their daily and future lives.

A little research on what Generation Z (and even Alpha Gen, the next wave) wants, can make the difference between a bland and run of the mill election story and one that has impact and power, appealing to the average high school reader.

unrecognizable people protesting on street at night during blm movement

Gen Z’ers are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation yet and they care about social justice, the common good and the environment.  Issues that concern this generation include global warming, student debt and, of course, the pandemic.  Generation Z tends to support same-sex marriage, is sensitive and open to gender identification and is in favor of neutral choices on government and official forms.   

According to a May Pew study, Gen Z’ers are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation yet and they care about social justice, the common good and the environment.  Issues that concern this generation include global warming, student debt and, of course, the pandemic.  Generation Z tends to support same-sex marriage, is sensitive and open to gender identification and is in favor of neutral choices on government and official forms.   

Regarding social justice, I have seen record numbers of my own students supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.  They are concerned with voter suppression and they have a keen sense of equity issues.  

They have strong opinions on gun control issue stemming from fear of school violence.  And fear is a daily factor in their lives: fear of Covid-19, fear of social unrest and fear of the general future.

Regardless of who wins Tuesday, student journalists should be ready to report on what matters to them and how those issues will be addressed in the next four years.  

The winner of this race affects us all, but particularly Generation Z and student journalists are in the forefront of raising awareness of the road ahead.

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