Politics IRL is a new digital-first video series from GBH News that centers the voices of Gen-Z voters and the issues that are driving them to vote—or not—in the upcoming November general election.

This project is one that I have been wanting to pursue for some time, and our team is passionate about it. As lead producer of the series, I am learning so much about Gen Z voters. I have spoken with more than 30 potential participants between age 18 and 25 for the project so far.

We are approaching this project through the lens of engagement journalism, in which we give our participants the power to choose the topics they want to discuss, and how to discuss them in an authentic way.

What I hear from young voters is that they are enthusiastic about participating in a video, and eager to speak with someone with whom they disagree – especially in person. Young voters care deeply about how the economy effects their futures, about LGBTQ identity, reproductive choices, gun violence, party politics, global policies, policing and so much more.

Our approach is also connecting us to several local organizations and student groups around Boston and on many college campuses. We invite them to partner with us to reach out to young voters and amplify the resulting conversations we document by sharing the video series with their networks.

We are also showing up with our GBH News table at community events, where we hope to talk to young voters and listen to their cares and concerns. We’ll be doing this throughout the election year.

Each video in the series represents an opportunity for the subjects and the audience to engage in a discussion many people are not having—a political discussion with significant room for disagreement, but also room for finding common ground. While many people avoid hot political discussions and hard conversations in their daily lives, the Politics IRL series represents a shift from
that tendency, and a chance to find comfort in discomfort to move the country forward.

If you are a young voter, or know of one who may want to participate in our series, please share your perspective with us in this form and we may get in touch with you.