NewsNews Literacy Project


Generation Z Tampa Bay journalism students say key to smarter news literacy is empathy, the truth

'People don't understand what real journalism is'
Posted at 4:08 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 17:44:20-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Future news anchor Payton Kirol says Generation Z will bring more empathy to journalism.

"There's a unity that I see in our generation that I don't know that a lot of other people see," she says.

Future newspaper editor Sophie Ojdanic says Generation Z will strive for absolute truth in journalism.

"People don't understand what real journalism is anymore," she says. "They don't understand what they need to consume."

Payton, 20, is a star student at USF Tampa, graduating a year early to launch her broadcast career.

Sophie, 19, is already the editor-in-chief at the Crow's Nest newspaper at USF St. Pete.

Both all-star students are part of an in-depth series of ABC Action News stories aimed at helping viewers and readers become smarter news consumers, weeding out misinformation and recognizing legitimate sources.

After a tumultuous time when accusations of "fake news" are hurled at all facets of the media, both students say their dreams of journalism careers are nevertheless as strong as ever.

Why? They point to their generation, Generation Z, as being the most racially and socially diverse in history. As a result, their voices will be more empathetic in giving greater, wider voice to the underserved.

They have hope...

"Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ," says Payton. "A lot of our stories are more focused on those injustices."

...and they have patience.

"Everyone's so worried about what everyone else is doing," says Sophie, who refuses to print any story until all the facts are checked, all the voices are heard. "I just want to have the integrity to be confident in a story before we post it."