What is The Up and Up?

The Up and Up is your destination for what to know about Gen Z’s political zeitgeist: how young people are organizing, mobilizing and participating in civic life and politics – or, how and why they’re not.

Across the country, young Americans are charting new ways to make government work for them. They’re not just posting on Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat – though that’s certainly part of their political identity – they’re also marching in the streets, working with officials to advocate for legislation, and serving in elected office themselves. 

But there’s no central location that covers the wide-ranging dynamism of Gen Z’s political prowess and the various groups and initiatives supporting their growth as voters, ​​nor a Gen-Zer surveying the youth vote landscape, its ins and outs, with a hint of skepticism.

The Up and Up is nonprofit and nonpartisan. It aims to be in conversation with and report on the work of these individuals, groups, and initiatives. It also seeks to tell stories about how the political system is failing the youngest members of the electorate.

Listening sessions

From January 2024 through November 2024, The Up and Up is conducting a series of listening sessions with young Americans in battleground states. These listening sessions are separate from The Up and Up’s traditional reporting and are treated like focus groups. Participants are offered $25 in compensation for their time. These listening sessions and the travel required for them are made possible thanks to a grant from the Walton Family Foundation.

About me, Rachel Janfaza.

Hi! I’m Rachel, the founder of The Up and Up and a journalist focused on Gen Z and its politics. Fixated on the intersection of politics, journalism, and education, I’m currently working on a few different initiatives geared at bringing more young Americans into the civic and political fold and writing about youth political culture.

Previously, I was an associate writer on the CNN Politics team covering young voters, campaigns and breaking news. As the first writer for CNN Politics dedicated to the youth beat, I’ve written about the first members of Gen Z to launch campaigns for Congress, how TikTok became a political battleground and the youth mental health crisis following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Before joining CNN in 2020, I covered youth political culture for Teen Vogue and MTV News. In doing so, I’ve explored youth activism around the world, from the fight against Brexit to global climate strikes, as well as initiatives to lower the voting age at the local level.

And I wrote my college senior thesis titled, "Post the Change You Wish To See: The Role of Social Media in Youth Led Social Movements from 2010-2020," on the ways young leaders utilized social media in mass movements of the past decade. 

Get in touch

Think there should be more young people in office? Have an idea for a feature? Eager to set up a listening session? Just want to chat all things Gen Z x politics?

Please reach out: racheljanfaza@theupandup.us

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Your destination for news and insights about young people and our politics.


Journalist covering youth political culture and young voters | Founder and writer of The Up and Up | Words in the New York Times, Teen Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Glamour | Formerly CNN Politics