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Young Voices Matter

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Promising 16-year-old journalist encourages young people to vote

​The University of Delaware welcomed 16-year-old political journalist to National Agenda's Midterm Matters speaker series on October 10, 2018.

By Charles J. Mays, Graduate Fellow for the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication

Watch the video . Read the transcriptListen to and download the podcast.

October 10, 2018―In the third installment of National Agenda's Midterm Matters speakers series, 16-year-old political journalist Gabe Fleisher explained why young voices matter. Fleisher writes Wake Up To Politics, a popular daily political newsletter that began as an email he sent to his mom to update her on what was happening in the world and what was on the schedules of America's political leaders. Fast forward to today and over 50,000 people receive Gabe's daily email. Fleisher's fascination with politics began in the third grade and has already grown into a promising possible future career as Fleisher mentioned he had an upcoming meeting with the Washington Post.

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National Agenda 2018 speaker Gabe Fleisher

​Gabe Fleisher, left, described his budding career as a political journalist in his talk  with National Agenda director and moderator Lindsay Hoffman about why young voices matter.

For Fleisher, his biggest concern as a young political journalist, is political apathy among younger generations. Citing Pew Research polls, Fleisher noted that although young people make up the second largest voting bloc, they have one of the lowest rates of turnout. Young people could be the change, if they would vote. When asked about his opinion on lowering the voting age, Fleischer noted it was a good idea but also believed that a move towards lowering the voting age should be combined with revamped civics education.

"I think it's important to vote, but it's more important to be an informed voter," Fleischer said as he spoke about questions around media trust and the advent of fake news. For Fleisher, as a political journalist, he believes media transparency and the responsibility of media outlets to correct mistakes will ultimately combat the decline of media trust. Fleisher also noted in terms of being informed, that people should read things that challenge their views. If you've gone your whole news day and not found something you've been challenged by, then you're doing something wrong, Fleisher cautioned. Concluding his remarks, Fleisher plugged one of his favorite books, What it Takes by Richard Ben Cramer which touches on the lives of those in public service to show how our politicians are humans, just like us.

The eighth annual National Agenda speaker series, hosted by the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication, brings nationally known speakers to campus. This year's theme, "Midterm Matters," explores how issues affect midterm elections and why voter and civic engagement is important. National Agenda is free and open to the public and made possible with support from the University of Delaware Office of the Provost. For more information, please visit www.cpc.udel.edu/nationalagenda.

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