The world is in crisis. Covid-19 has decimated communities, bought leading economies to a standstill, and exposed just how fragile our lives are and how much we rely on each other to prosper. The tragic killing of George Floyd in the US at the end of May sparked protests and demonstrations in every US state and most countries in Europe and Asia. Hong Kong is fighting for its independence. Tensions between the leadership of nations are as fraught and dangerous as they've been in many years, and peace for some around the world is still a pipe dream.
Sounds pretty depressing when you list it all like that, and they're just the headlines.
My name is Harry Bower and I'm 24. I'm an Event Manager living and working in London, but I grew up on the South Coast of England, in Devon. The first thing I do when I wake up is load up the BBC News app on my iPhone and refresh the top stories page. Then I flick over to Twitter and look at what's trending. I might then head onto Facebook and scroll down my feed for a few minutes. By the time I've rolled out of bed, I've digested content from at least three sites, usually more. Like many people my age I have a pathological fear, I think, of being out of the loop. That's why my social media and news notifications receive more attention than a text from a friend or an email in my inbox. Shameful really.
Recently, I've become increasingly frustrated that all the news I'm reading and the content I'm consuming is being written by people I can't relate to. The social divide between those asking the questions at the daily Downing Street Coronavirus press conference and the general public (particularly those under 30), for example, is stark. The lifestyle pieces about 'millennials and their habits', or the advice pieces about young professionals working for huge corporate organisations, are usually written by people from the outside looking in. I find myself drawn immediately to articles which are written by my peers. I want to be able to read what it's like for them, living now. What experiences they're having and how that's affecting them personally and professionally. Those aged 20-29 are critically under-represented in the media.
I find myself drawn immediately to articles which are written by my peers.
Specifically, I want to be able to relate to the news. Take Covid-19 for example. University students all over the country are finishing their degree and not knowing what the job market looks like or what their future will hold. Tens of thousands of under 30s are on the furlough scheme and young professionals are being made redundant as they're likely to be deemed the 'most disposable' in large companies. I don't know what most of those experiences are like and I never will because the current landscape of media, at least in the United Kingdom, means that those voices are not being heard. An entire generation is being drowned out by the world's collective noise.
People under 30 have something valuable to say. Our opinions, beliefs and experiences will shape the world in the future but they're valid right now too.
That's why today I'm launching Twentysomething. Twentysomething is a news opinion site, which will feature articles and blog-post-style features from a whole range of people from different backgrounds, in their 20s. Anyone from 20 to 29 can contribute to the site, and I'm aiming to make the content as accessible and varied as possible.
An entire generation is being drowned out by the world's collective noise
Twentysomething will have a social media presence, of course, and articles will be posted as they go live on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Ideally, we'll build an army of contributors willing to share their side of the story with the world, from all over the world. My aim is to ensure readers have the opportunity to meet the person behind the article and find a little bit about the author to add context to the content.
Hopefully Twentysomething becomes a platform which provides young people with the opportunity to have their voice heard. To feel like their contributions matter. That people care about what they have to say.
I'm really keen to include as many different contributions from as many different backgrounds as possible - so if you feel you have something you want to say via a contribution, then get in touch! Drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org with a bit about you and a couple of lines about what you want to write about, and I'll be in touch.