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Santa Barbara teen author shares 'WTF is going on' with millions of Gen-Z readers

Teenager Olivia Seltzer has written a book aimed at Gen-Z
Random House
Teenager Olivia Seltzer has written a book aimed at Gen-Z

How do you explain the news and current and social affairs to the teens and young adults in your life?

Olivia Seltzer from Santa Barbara wasn’t even into her teenage years when she watched the 2016 Presidential election.

At just twelve years old, it struck her that traditional news media weren’t catering to her generation.

"I noticed that everyone my age was talking about the news, but none of us were actually reading or watching the news. It just wasn't connecting."

"You can't change the world unless you know about it," she told KCLU.

She continued: "Since I've always loved writing, I thought why don't I try to create the solution to that."

Seltzer started waking at 5 a.m. to read the news and create a news digest aimed at Gen-Z, which she shared via email and other on-line platforms.

From topics as diverse as how conflicts in the Middle East started to where Black Lives Matter or the Me Too movement began, her online newsletter The Cramm, is certainly not lightweight, and from those humble beginnings it’s grown popular, now boasting more than 2.5 million monthly views.

"Our main audience is 13-30 year-olds but we have people of all ages reading the CRAMM," said Seltzer.

She says that readers have told her they've voted for the first time or become involved with charities because of something they read in The Cramm.

"My mission statement is 'Educate to Activate,' and it's exciting to see the second part of that come to life," she said.

Now 18-years-old, the "second part of that” is a book, which Seltzer says she wrote to both inspire and equip teens and young adults with the information and context to make a difference in their communities or worldwide.

Olivia Seltzer started The Cramm when she was 13 and it now reaches 2.5 million people
Olivia Seltzer
Olivia Seltzer started The Cramm when she was 13 and it now reaches 2.5 million people

"I think of it as the anti-text book. Often text books feel too long, too dull and too disconnected from the reader," she said. "This is the opposite. It has engaging illustrations, photos, text message conversations and graphics to really bring the reader into the events."

She says her proud parents have always encouraged her to "do it now."

But what's next for this teenager with an inspirational voice being heard by the next generation?

"I just graduated from Santa Barbara High School and was accepted into Harvard University for the class of 2026, so I'm excited to start there in August. I want to delve into the political science world and, of course, continue The Cramm," said Seltzer.

Cramm This Book is on sale Tuesday.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 7 Golden Mike Awards, 4 Los Angeles Press Club Awards and 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for ten years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.