Next Gen Public Media: Research

The research that anchors the Next Gen Public Media initiative has surfaced a wide range of challenges and opportunities when it comes to engaging with tweens and teens. This young generation is embedded not just in complex media ecologies, but also in a historical moment rife with instability and ripe with possibility. In this space, public media’s values can find a new expression that meets unmet needs, while also strengthening its potential to foster a lifelong relationship to its audience and communities. 

A central priority for our project is directly involving teens and tweens in the process of determining the shape of public media. And while there are a number of existing efforts to give teens and tweens “a seat at the table,” the knowledge base around how to do so well does not currently exist for the public media community. To address this need, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center will launch a new line of inquiry, research on youth co-design of public media, that explores approaches to youth involvement in public media decision-making and media creation. 

In line with the ethos of direct youth involvement, the Cooney Center will also host a new youth advisory fellowship program to ensure our activities remain rooted in and reflective of current youth needs. We envision this as a teen leadership council that would be sourced to include a diverse range of youth who are treated as experts of their own experience. Our youth advisors will provide feedback directly to the NGPM initiative on key ideas, activities, and materials, but they will also be trained to conduct ‘action research’ relevant to the public media community. 

The NGPM team will work with our youth advisors to produce a range of public-facing youth outputs (blog posts, podcasts, etc.) reporting out and centering youth voice in our process. In addition, the team will produce a series of applied research briefs that address a range of challenges in the field.

  • “Missing Middle” Research

Foundational research featuring insights from tweens and teens ages 10-17 that aims to help public media stakeholders better understand how young people are engaging with media today. Forthcoming research briefs will highlight emerging issues and “problems of practice.”

Read the literature review and full report.

  • Research on Youth Co-Design

This research will leverage existing projects in the field in order to understand how they structure opportunities for input, participation, creation, collaboration, and leadership on the part of teens and tweens, leading to practical insights that can drive adoption of best practices in this area.

  • Youth Advisory Fellowship

Teen leadership council that will provide feedback directly to the NGPM initiative on key ideas, activities, and materials and conduct ‘action research’ relevant to the public media community. Youth Advisory Fellows will have the opportunity to develop research and reporting skills and contribute to public outputs. Applications will open in Spring 2022.


More Content to Explore