Why Teens Are Creating Their Own News Outlets
September 2, 2019 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Claiming young adults are zoning out on current events instead of zooming in ignores the fact that they’re digital natives, who grew up navigating an increasingly tech-reliant culture. Instead of staring at cable news, they’re pioneering new ways to engage with the stories that meet them where they are.
posted by Etrigan (15 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
theCramm: We Cramm the news so you don't have to.

An example news Cramm (sic) from 8/28/2019.
posted by glonous keming at 10:45 AM on September 2, 2019

Why did one of the 18 million email sign up pop ups try to get me to subscribe to Teen Vogue? Is this affiliated?

Also, is it really written by a teen? To me, it sounds more like how an adult thinks teens would write than how teens, especially the kind of teen motivated to start something this professional, would actually write, but I'm middle aged, so what do I know?
posted by salvia at 1:23 PM on September 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Also, is it really written by a teen?

Maybe it's written by a teen trying to sound like what an adult would expect a teen to sound like to capitalize on the teen identity
posted by mit5urugi at 1:30 PM on September 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

salvia, the only pop-up for Teen Vogue subscriptions I see is on the Teen Vogue article talking about these teen news outlets. Not sure if you're seeing it on another link somewhere?
posted by nightrecordings at 1:38 PM on September 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Is theCramm related somehow to theSkimm, or are they just two very similar services with very similar names?
posted by box at 2:17 PM on September 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Nice find, box. Rather uncanny, isn't it?
posted by glonous keming at 2:30 PM on September 2, 2019

salvia, the only pop-up for Teen Vogue subscriptions I see is on the Teen Vogue article talking about these teen news outlets. Not sure if you're seeing it on another link somewhere?

Oh, I see! Yes, I was in the process of hitting the Back button to get back to Metafilter, and I forgot that the story about them was on the Teen Vogue site. Thanks!
posted by salvia at 2:40 PM on September 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

(I didn't do any real detective work--I've subscribed to theSkimm since a younger coworker recommended it to me a few years ago.) So, I did a little quick detective work.

Here's an interview (Everly Mag) with the creator of theCramm from 2018, not long after it launched. And, from around the same time, an article about theSkimm (The Cut), which had around 7 million subscribers, mostly millennial women. Here's a blog post from 2017 where another teenager (holy cow, are teenagers going to bring back personal blogs?) claims to have a new job working as a 'researcher' for theCramm (she's identified as a member of the team on theCramm's site).

Here's a defense (Slate) of theSkimm from 2012, around the time it launched (there have been a lot more pro- and anti-Skimm stories over the intervening years). It seems like the two sites have different intended audiences. Their tone, and the stories they cover, vary sharply.

It seems, at the risk of speaking uncharitably about a 15 year old, like Ms. Seltzer might have taken some inspiration from the older and more popular site (she also seems to have a real knack for building an online brand).
posted by box at 3:22 PM on September 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh YEAH fellow teens CRAMM dat info all up yer news hole!
posted by JHarris at 4:32 PM on September 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

You call that cramming? Someone needs to show these youngsters some archived megathreads.
posted by xammerboy at 5:13 PM on September 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

My favorite thing on today's Cramm was, "Yes, these are adults." in a section about Bolsonaro taking aid from Europe. The teens - they are definitely rolling our eyes at us.

(Although, for the record, I'm 34, and I'm rolling my eyes, too.)
posted by honeybee413 at 5:16 PM on September 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

For what it’s worth, TeenVogue was doing better political coverage of the post-2016 election landscape than some other traditional news outlets. I still follow them on Twitter because they are occasionally insightful, though not as politically focused as they were in 2017.

I’m checking out the text version of theCramm, if only to see what that’s like. I prefer getting my news from newsletters anyway.
posted by lhauser at 6:13 PM on September 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

"Instead of staring at cable news" - always an excellent first step.
posted by doctornemo at 12:08 PM on September 3, 2019

NPR interviewed Olivia Seltzer yesterday--she's a pretty good interviewee.

Not to keep beating this drum, but theSkimm and theCramm both led today's email with the cancelled-Taliban-meeting news. Just for comparison's sake:

theSkimm (I received it at 5:13 a.m):

The Story
Peace talks between the US and the Taliban are over.

Background, please.
For almost a year now, the two sides had been working on a peace deal in an effort to end the nearly 18-year war in Afghanistan. Last week, they seemed to reach a deal "in principle": the US would reportedly withdraw all remaining 14,000 troops from the country. And in exchange, the Taliban wouldn't let terror groups use Afghanistan as a base to launch attacks abroad.

The deal is off. Over the weekend, President Trump took to Twitter to say that he'd called off peace talks. And canceled a secret meeting with Taliban leaders and the Afghan president at Camp David in Maryland.

Camp David...that sounds familiar.
It should. The presidential retreat was used to help set up a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in the '70s, among other major peace talks. So it has a ton of history to it. But Trump canceled the meeting after the Taliban claimed responsibility for last week's attack in Kabul that killed 12 people, including a US soldier. Trump took issue with the Taliban's use of violence as an apparent negotiating tactic, asking "what kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?"

How are people reacting?
Many were outraged that the Trump admin would even allow Taliban leaders on US soil in the first place, especially days before the 18th anniversary of 9/11. The Taliban said that canceling the meeting will show the US's "anti-peace stance" – all while the group threatened more attacks. And Afghanistan's gov blamed the Taliban for the canceled meeting, saying the violence was making peace talks difficult.

The US invaded Afghanistan after 9/11 to end the Taliban's rule and take down al-Qaeda there. It's the US's longest war – and it now shows no sign of stopping.
theCramm (8:56 a.m.)
Things aren’t going all that well between Trump and the Taliban.


Soon after 9/11 about 18 years ago, the US announced it’d be going to war in Afghanistan. The goal: defeat al-Qaeda (the terrorist organization responsible for 9/11) and kick out the Taliban. Since then, the war’s led to tens of thousands of deaths and become known as America’s longest war...ever. Scene, set.


For months, the US has been chatting with the Taliban in an attempt to figure out a way to ditch Afghanistan. ICYMI, the Taliban are a political movement plus military organization who’ve taken some control over Afghanistan. Initially, the US saw them as enemies, but lately, the two groups have been putting a deal together that’d let the US pull its troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban’s pinky promise that it wouldn’t let terrorist organizations make headway there. Negotiations have gone fairly well...untillll now.


Yesterday, Prez Trump said ‘yeaaaah no’ and declared that he cancelled a secret meeting with the Taliban that was supposed to take place at Camp David today. We’ll repeat: the meeting was supposed to take place...on US soil. FYI, that’s unprecedented. Trump says he cancelled the meeting due to a suicide bombing last week in Kabul that left one US soldier dead - a bombing the Taliban claimed responsibility for. But others say the Taliban apparently wasn’t a fan of the final terms of its agreement with the US. Either way, Trump’s under fire for inviting the Taliban to the US...just days before the anniversary of 9/11.


Unclear what the next step is for the US and the Taliban. TBD, TBD, TBD.

Okay, so, the style is similar. Both include links--four for theCramm (to CNN, Guardian, NYT and BBC), six for theSkimm (to a different CNN, same Guardian (so it must be good), Reuters, AP, and CBS News (twice).

I still haven't heard an interview with Seltzer where someone asks her about theSkimm. In hindsight, I feel like I should've cribbed links from both newsletters to make a MeFi post about the cancelled Taliban meeting instead of darkly hinting about similarities between the two daily email newsletters.

But, on the plus side, I learned from these tweets that there's one for Gen-X'ers now. It's focus is on health, wellness, and personal growth (sample), and they also sell a t-shirt with 'Rise Above' (which is also both a Black Flag song and a right-wing hate group) printed on it. But, as a Gen-X person, I'm skeptical about media and don't like being marketed to, so I'm not sure Further is really my kind of thing. I kinda prefer (either) of the millennial-targeted ones.
posted by box at 9:15 AM on September 9, 2019

there's one for Gen-X'ers now.

Oh man, that one grates nearly as much as the one for the teens, though I can hardly put my finger on why. I like the idea of news aggregation, and I wish people would quit ruining it with the writing and self-conscious "fellow kids / fellow middle-age people" stuff. A video of Jesse's Girl??
posted by salvia at 12:14 AM on September 11, 2019

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