Olivia Seltzer is far from your average teenager… Founder of daily news forum The Cramm, Olivia transforms the day’s events — in between homework assignments — into digestible bytes for its readers.
We asked Olivia, in preparation for her very special The Cramm x FP collaboration appearing here every other Sunday, to answer a few questions so that we can all get to know a bit more about what makes this wunderkind tick.
Your zodiac sign:
Can you describe your journalistic “calling?” Was there a particular moment/event that made you think, “I WANT TO SPREAD THE NEWS!”
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, I noticed a shift in my junior high school. All my friends and I could talk about was the world’s happenings — but this newfound interest lacked an outlet. Traditional news sources are written by and geared toward an older demographic, and unfortunately, they don’t always connect to my generation. Since I’ve always loved writing, I decided to create the solution: The Cramm.
Why “The Cramm?”
The name comes from cramming the news into one newsletter. It’s also a phrase seen in schools — as in, students will “cram” the night before a test. With The Cramm, there’s no need to cram to get the news, since we do it for you.
(You’re 15, correct?!) What does your schedule look like before/after class? How much sleep do you get??
I wake up everyday at 5am to get started on The Cramm. I finish by 7am, get ready for school by 7:30, and then head to school, which starts at 8am. After school is over (at around 2pm), I head home, complete my homework, and devote the remaining time in my day toward working on The Cramm. I also make sure to spend lots of time outside — I love to take walks around my neighborhood. I go to bed each night between 9pm and 10pm so I get seven or eight hours of sleep.
How did you wrangle up so many awesome young people to help you deliver The Cramm’s message?
I’ve been so honored to have an incredible community of readers who are extremely passionate about the world and, subsequently, The Cramm. I get emails and DMs from young people across the globe everyday who want to get involved with The Cramm and help us spread our message. Over the past year, we’ve accumulated more than one hundred and fifty youth ambassadors in dozens of countries who have reached out to us and now spend time going out into their communities to grow The Cramm.
What goes into producing a daily segment of The Cramm?
Each morning, I wake up at 5am, read the news from a variety of sources, curate relevant news stories, and rewrite them in a way that relates and connects to teens and young adults. I write The Cramm exactly how I talk to my friends to ensure our readers are getting news in a way that speaks to them. Then, after the newsletter is complete, I send it out in a daily email or text to our readers, who come from over 70 countries around the world.
Your greatest achievement so far?
Absolutely the way our readers have taken what they’ve read and used it to make a difference in the world! I’ve had young people tell me they read about March For Our Lives in The Cramm and subsequently organized a rally at their school; young people tell me they’ve started clubs at their school to discuss what they’ve read in The Cramm, take a particular issue we dealt with, and create some sort of action to positively impact this issue; young people tell me they decided to raise their voice and stand up for issues ranging from climate change to abortion rights; and even young people tell me they were inspired to go out and vote because of The Cramm.
Favorite extracurricular activity:
I’m part of my school’s Youth 4 Direct Relief Club, which is part of Direct Relief, an organization that helps provide medical supplies to people in need around the world. It’s one of my favorite things that I do, since I get to help hold fundraisers that make a real impact on people’s lives.
If you could be assigned to cover any current news event, anywhere, which would it be and why?
That’s a tough question. So much of what happens in news is really very tragic. I think I’d like to cover something or someone that inspires hope and makes people want to get up and create change in our world.
What do you consider the greatest challenge faced by your generation?
At the moment, definitely climate change. That is one issue that I think my generation feels very strongly about, and rightfully so. It’s something that will absolutely have a huge impact on our lives. There’s this big sense of powerlessness, and an equally big sense of responsibility to future generations.
The Cramm’s mantra:
You can’t change the world unless you know about it.
+ Come back tomorrow to catch up on The Week, Crammed!