Mahima Dutt (BA Communication ‘19) has been a subscriber to "The Young Turks" YouTube channel since she started attending college.
When she heard the group would be at Wallis Annenberg Hall on September 12, she was excited to see them live.
“I think it will be interesting seeing a different format mainly because they are online,” Dutt said. "Starting this TV show, that is different."
USC Annenberg was both the first stop and premiere for "The Young Turks on Fusion," a new, hour-long live broadcast that will bring the YouTube staple to 12 college campuses across the country. The inaugural September 12 episode was broadcast on Fusion’s cable channel and featured Nando Vila, Vice President of Programming at Fusion and a correspondent for "America with Jorge Ramos," along with "The Young Turks" co-hosts Ana Kasparian, John Iadarola, and "The Young Turks" CEO and founder Cenk Uygur. Future episodes will have the co-hosts joined by other guests from Fusion and topics will include education reform, international terrorism and the legalization of marijuana.
"USC Annenberg welcomes thoughtful, lively and spirited discussion and debate. I loved watching our students share their views with TYT's hosts and with Fusion and Univision's audiences," said Willow Bay, director of the School of Journalism.
The September 12 episode focused on millennials: how those born between 1982 and 2004 are often misrepresented in the media, whether their votes matter and the effects of college debt on their lives. The show mixed live questions from the audience (comprised mostly of Annenberg students) with pre-recorded man-on-the-street interviews where USC students discussed whether or not they felt optimistic about their futures.
“The concerns of the millennials aren’t the same everywhere so we wanted to get the unique flavor of what people care about in different parts of the country,” Iadarola said of the new show.
“It’s important to give those people the focus they deserve because most of the cable news networks just don’t,” Iadarola said. “I also think it’s a good lens to look at the election.”
The panel took up the popular misperception that millennials are lazy, social media addicts.
“While they get criticized for being lazy and not working enough, the reality is they are dealing with crippling loan debt and a job market that isn't as great as it was for their parents,” Kasparian said.
Uygur noted that he is constantly being asked "what’s wrong with millennials?" when appearing in other media to discuss the upcoming election.
“I say, ‘there’s nothing is wrong with millennials, they just don’t agree with you.' My contention is that you guys are better educated than your parents.”
Uygur went to argue that the perception of millennials as smartphone addicts masks the fact that the cohort has a vast amount of knowledge at their fingertips all the time. Uygur drew an appreciative laugh from the audience when he said older generations are “jealous” millennials because they're always a quick search away from the policies of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Students in the audience asked the panel a range of questions, from how to best engage undecided voters to the importance of Hillary Clinton’s recent health issues.
“I think a President’s health is actually extremely important. But right now what’s hurting Hillary Clinton more than anything is her lack of transparency,” Kasparian said on the latter question.
After the show, longtime The Young Turks fan Dutt said the new format for The Young Turks worked.
“I thought it was really true to their actual show and their personalities seemed really consistent,” Dutt said. “I definitely could tell they were trying to get the youth more involved by sharing a link to register to vote. Students don’t always realize they can register on campus or in the cities where their colleges are located.”
Annenberg student Sylvia Villanueva (BA Communication ‘18) shared the panel’s overall assessment that millennials are literally plugged into today’s most important conversations.
“Millennials are more involved because of social media and we have everything available at our hands," Villanueva said. "I get most of my news from Twitter."Please view a photo gallery of the event and a clip from the show below: