Making politics appeal to younger readers

Two Brahmas create a news website designed to raise political awareness among students.

After hearing fellow students completely misunderstand politics and current events, Diamond Bar High School juniors Derek Wang and Taha Daud created the website Poliquicks News to cover political news in a simple and comprehensive manner.

When conducting research for a TEDx Talk last year on political activism, Wang found that peers weren’t interested in keeping up with news because they found it boring and time-consuming.  

With the current political landscape rapidly changing, he felt that it was important to provide high school students with accurate information.

“As the month of December passed and President Trump’s impeachment progressed, many people had questions like ‘I thought he just got impeached, why is he still in office?’” Wang said.        

The experience inspired him to create a website to make political news consumable and relevant to students.  

As he began planning out his operation, he turned to Daud to help with the workload.

“I gave many suggestions to help appeal to a wider audience, “ Daud said. “For instance, I proposed the short weekly videos and the terms glossary to attract viewership and ensure they would understand.”

The duo uploaded their first news video and article on Jan. 12 and have continued to update their audience every week.

Each school week, they accumulate stories through a New York Times subscription. On the weekends, they write a script and produce the videos as well as draft weekly posts.

By 7 p.m. on Sunday, they are ready to upload the posts and videos.

Recently, they’ve added a newsletter that’s published every Thursday due to their hectic schedules. Altogether, it takes about 10 hours to produce a week’s worth of content.

“We hope to cover the entire spectrum of political news, including the White House and the presidency, upcoming elections, federal and state legislation, foreign policy and the like,” Wang said. “However, we try to focus our coverage in a manner to entertain and inform people who wouldn’t usually read the New York Times or watch cable television.”

Currently, the site has logged over 1,200 views from over 250 unique visitors. Wang and Daud also said they hope to expand their audience primarily through their weekly newsletter. Additionally, they’ve added a feature called Polipinion, where readers can submit articles expressing their views on various issues.

“In terms of long-term readership and audience, we don’t see ourselves using advertisements anytime soon but are looking at other alternatives,” Wang said.  

Meanwhile, for his own future goals, Wang is looking to study political science in higher education.

“I not only find the legislative aspect of politics extremely enticing as it provides me a way to impact the lives of many, but I am also intrigued by the prospect of helping to run a campaign,” he said.

Wang notes that running the Poliquicks News website and social media accounts has some parallels with maintaining a political campaign. As he reviews the responses from his readership on various articles, he can gauge their interest in certain issues, similar to how a campaign manager processes and analyzes feedback for a political candidate. Meanwhile, Daud is looking into fields related to law and political science for a possible career. For the time being, he appreciates how running the website allows him to more fully comprehend current political issues.

“Although I understand the issues, writing about them helps me develop a stance,” Daud said.

Something he hopes his audience does as well.