2023 - Fall

The Beat: Covering Generation Z (Print/Online track)

Course Number: JOUR-UA 201.004

Day & Time: Tue | 5:00 PM – 8:40 PM

Location: 20 Cooper Square, Room 657

Instructor: Jen Ortiz

Prerequisites: Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word JOUR-UA 101

Gen Z—as in, you, you’re Gen Z, and so is everyone else born after 1996—are most often defined by what they don’t think is cool anymore. Like skinny jeans. Or side parts. Or the laughing-crying emoji. Or, you know Millennials. (As in me, I’m a Millennial. But I’m still cool. Don’t fact-check that.)

To be fair, Gen Z might actually be the coolest generation yet. So cool, in fact, that we don’t really have a clear understanding of what that totally means yet. Here’s what we do know:

According to the Pew Research Center, Gen Z is more racially and ethnically diverse, more educated, and more progressive than those that came before them. They’re growing up on the internet in a way, not even the youngest Millennials experienced, for better (see: TikTok) or worse (see also: TikTok). They’re at the center (if not, the head) of urgent social movements at a time of deep inequality and unrest. And they’ve redefined what “going to school” means amid, oh, you know, a global pandemic(!)—a harsh, sudden change that will undoubtedly have lasting future effects.

In short: Gen Z is redefining culture—arts, education, politics, self-expression, relationships, societal expectations, and more—and what it means to be a part of it. All while being, yet at least, undefinable. Figuring out who Gen Z is and what they love, hate, and want has become media’s greatest get. We will start on that definition in “The Kids Are Alright” through your reporting (i.e., assignments), readings, and conversations with guest speakers.

And, of course, you. You’re part of Gen Z, so your ideas, reporting, and writing will all come from your real-life experiences.

This class will focus on developing your journalistic skills with a particular focus on feature writing. Think pitches, profiles, service stories, and reported trend features.

 Notes: Required for students pursuing the Print/Online track in the journalism major and the Minor in Print and Online Journalism. Counts as an elective for the Minor in Broadcast and Multimedia Journalism.

Questions? Email undergraduate.journalism@nyu.edu.