Gen Zs are a group of individuals that many people are still trying to understand. They have perplexed marketers across the world with their desire for more meaning in their consumerist activities. They have also undeniably made a few boomers and millennials shake their heads at their confusing language, pop culture references and new age perspectives. 

As the first group of Gen Zs (born in 1997) climb the media ladder, it will be interesting to know what these contemporary storytellers bring to the table of journalism — because the world is starting to receive their information from them, after all. 

To understand how Gen Zs will operate as media creators, we need to first understand who they are. This will then translate directly into how they report and what they choose to report on. 

So, if you’re asking yourself, "What does a Gen Z journalist look like?", you don't have to sit and wonder any longer. media update's Lara Smit understood the assignment and is breaking down what it means to be one of these new age journos here. 

Let's take a look at the qualities you need to know about Gen Zs:

They are the CEOs of diversity

According to Pew Research Center, "Members of Gen Z are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation". 

What does that mean for journalism, you ask? 

Well for one, it means that this field is going to be saturated with new voices that offer fresh perspectives on topics in the media — as well as unique focus areas into journalism. Minority groups will also be receiving more coverage — giving them exposure, spreading awareness and in some occasions, preserving their cultures. 

They keep it real

According to Nieman Lab, Gen Zs value authenticity and transparency. 

This generation always wants to know more and to feel as though they are doing more. Simply put, they are always searching for the purpose and value of what they consume and what they do. 

Therefore, reporting will take a more sentimental turn in the hands of these individuals. Their stories will have more meaning and will be purpose-driven. Gen Z journos will report on something if they believe it contributes to a cause or allows them to give a voice to a problem that isn't being spoken about. 

Additionally, this is a generation that only wants absolutes. They value the truth and rely on factual information. Therefore, we can expect Gen Z journos to strive towards accuracy in their reporting. This means that their stories will be well researched and will often employ primary sources.

Pew Research Center also made a point that Gen Z is the most educated generation yet. So, we will definitely see a high standard of reporting, as well as a group of journos that know how to handle the media industry well and are confident in their work. 

They will also have a good understanding of the ethics of journalism and we will see a lot more responsible reporting from this group.

They are digital natives

Gen Zs were born into a world of tech. They know how to navigate digital worlds just as easily as they know how to navigate the real world. Therefore, we're going to see a departure from traditional methods of journalism to non-traditional, technological formats. 

Social and highly visual digital platforms will continue to reign and, subsequently, there will be a higher prevalence of bite-size news as a gateway for consumers to larger formats of news coverage. 

Research will also be more advanced because of technology and there will be more validity in the stories relayed in the media, which will hopefully reduce the prevalence of misinformation.

They are woke

With Millenials, we saw a massive rise in social consciousness. What's more is that we also saw a lot of reporters take action when it came to addressing big social issues and injustices. 

Gen Zs have joined the Millennial 'fam' as this consciousness has continued with them too. This generation places a focus on: 
  • politics
  • economy
  • mental health
  • ethics and morality
  • equality and justice regarding gender, race and sexuality — as well as
  • climate and wildlife issues.
This means that as Gen Zs enter the world of journalism, they will support the continued rise of activism on behalf of these issues in reporting. 

Furthermore, their reporting will be more open, which means that these topics will be discussed freely and with more sensitivity. We will also see that more stories will aim to expose injustices, to increase awareness and to seek support where necessary. 

How do you think Gen Zs will contribute to the world of journalism? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Curious to know more about the illusive Gen Zs? Then be sure to read our article Millennials and Gen Z adapt well to change — what is their secret?
*Image courtesy of Canva