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Nevertheless, she persisted: Teen Vogue upping its politics game, says U of C researcher

'They are doing really in-depth cultural analysis, well-written op-ed pieces,' says Jessalynn Keller

David Bell - CBC News

October 02, 2017

U of C researcher Jessalynn Keller, right, says Teen Vogue has expanded its coverage in the past year and it's starting to pay off. (Submitted by Jessalynn Keller)

Teen Vogue is riding a wave of engagement after diving headfirst into U.S. politics, including Donald Trump, and it's a shift that's paying off, says a University of Calgary researcher.

"Previously, the magazine focused a lot on fashion, beauty, celebrity culture — what we might expect from a teen magazine," Jessalynn Keller told The Calgary Eyeopener on Monday.

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"More recently, though, they have shifted to increase their reporting on politics. They are doing a lot of what we might call hard journalism. They are doing independent news reporting. They are doing really in-depth cultural analysis, well-written op-ed pieces about the current state of politics in the U.S."

Keller, an assistant professor of communication, media and film, says the magazine is looking at mainstream issues from non-traditional perspectives.

"It's about recognizing young people, and their audience is specifically teenage girls, young women and actually queer youth, so LGBTQ kids as well, they are recognizing as part of their audience."

She says the magazine is attracting older readers with a perspective they may not find in other commercial publications.

Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America, by Lauren Duca. (www.teenvogue.com)

"This past December, Lauren Duca published a piece called Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America and it got a lot of attention and it brought a lot of adult readers to Teen Vogue," Keller said.

"This kind of radical approach to politics is addressing politics from what I would call an intersectional feminist perspective. They look at the world through a gendered lens but they also consider other identities like race, class, sexuality in their reporting."

That's not to say, however, that Teen Vogue has completely shifted its focus.

"This marrying of the content really is innovative in its approach to young people," Keller said.

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