How Can Public Media Reach Youth Audiences?

Media Advisory
March 5, 2021

Joan Ganz Cooney Center Previews New Research
at SXSW EDU Online, March 10, 10:30am CT 

(New York, NY) — While young people are consuming media now more than ever, today’s highly saturated media landscape means that they may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of platforms and content at their fingertips.

Many of today’s tweens and teens don’t know what public media is, but they’re receptive to media that addresses the everyday challenges they face, according to upcoming research by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. The qualitative research, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), will be previewed at a SXSW EDU virtual session on Tweens, Teens, and Public Media: The “Missing Middle,” on March 10 at 10:30 am CT on the SXSW EDU Online platform:

Seeing an opportunity to reaffirm their long-standing mission to provide high-quality educational content that is accessible to underserved audiences, public media stakeholders are looking to reach the elusive tween and teen audience. The session will focus on what we know about Gen Z and their media habits, and how public media can serve this “missing middle” audience. Cooney Center Executive Director Michael Preston and Senior Fellow Mary Madden join Dr. Milton Chen (Senior Fellow, George Lucas Educational Foundation) and Debra Sanchez (Senior Vice President, Education and Children’s Content, Corporation for Public Broadcasting) for the discussion.



About the Joan Ganz Cooney Center
The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit research and innovation lab that focuses on the challenges of fostering smarter, stronger, and kinder children in a rapidly changing media landscape. We conduct original research on emerging learning technologies and collaborate with educators and media producers to put this research into action. We also aim to inform the national conversation on media and education by working with policymakers and investors. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @CooneyCenter, Facebook and subscribe for updates.


About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related online services. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @CPBmediaFacebookLinkedIn, and subscribe for other updates.

The SXSW EDU® Conference & Festival cultivates and empowers a community of engaged stakeholders to advance teaching and learning. The annual event affords registrants open access to engaging sessions, immersive workshops, interactive learning experiences, film screenings, early-stage startups, business opportunities, and networking. SXSW EDU is a component of the South by Southwest® family of conferences and festivals that has grown from 800 to over 8,000 registrants in the last decade. Join the passionate and innovative community at SXSW EDU Online, March 9-11, 2021. For more information, please visit


For more information, contact:

Catherine Jhee
Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop

Liz Stein
SXSW EDU Press & Publicity


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