Social commitment, activism, open-mindedness. But also anxiety, scepticism, a sense of being overwhelmed, distrust of political debate. This is how Generation Z – better known as GenZ – describes its relationship with the world of traditional media and with major foreign policy issues. What emerged from the event “GenZ, The News, And The World”, organised by the Italian Embassy in Washington as part of its Digital Diplomacy Series, provided a complex and undoubtedly “non-monolithic” generational snapshot, using an expression that the members of GenZ themselves wished to emphasise several times during the conversation.
“Generation Z is rightfully among our stakeholders in foreign policy,” highlighted the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Mariangela Zappia, opening the event. “We must therefore be able to listen to GenZ and take into account their contribution to the debate on global challenges and other topical issues,” she added. The Ambassador expressed her appreciation for Italian initiatives such as the organisation of the first Youth4Climate event, during the Italian G20 Presidency, which became a permanent platform on climate change, and emphasised disinformation and the protection of personal data, among the most topical issues in the relationship between GenZ and the media world.
During the event at the Italian Embassy, particular attention was paid to a discussion on platforms: the presence of young people on TikTok and Instagram, but also GenZ’s use of traditional media, which have long been interested in attracting young readers in an increasingly less traditional way.
The event at the Italian Embassy was attended by speakers who were all young, including the Italian Alessandro Tommasi, founder and CEO of Will Media, present on multiple online platforms with an audience of millions of users. The conversation, moderated by Rachel Janfaza, author of The Up And Up newsletter on GenZ and former CNN journalist, also featured Sophie Beren of The Conversationalist, just named “30 Under 30” by Forbes; Carmella Boykin, part of the small team behind the Washington Post’s hugely popular TikTok channel; and Monica Anderson, Pew Research Center’s expert on the Internet and technology, including the younger generation’s use of social media.