Jan 30, 2024 - Axios Events

Axios News Shapers – January 2024

Chris Evans and Mark Kassen onstage in conversation with Axios’ Mike Allen. Credit: Moe Thajib for Axios.

Chris Evans and Mark Kassen onstage in conversation with Axios' Mike Allen. Credit: Moe Thajib for Axios.

The big picture: Axios hosted our first in person News Shapers event of 2024 in Washington, D.C. on January 29th featuring an evening of programming focused on youth voter engagement and education leading up to this year's highly consequential election season.

Axios co-founder Mike Allen hosted conversations with the co-founders of online civic engagement platform A Starting Point Chris Evans and Mark Kassen about the work they are doing to educate younger voters through short-form videos from policymakers explaining political issues to hot-button topics.

Why it matters: It is becoming increasingly difficult to find and discern trustworthy information online, fueling skepticism and frustration amongst younger people looking to inform themselves and form their political opinions to participate in elections, many of whom are first-time voters.

What they're saying: Chris Evans and Mark Kassen, with the help of their third co-founder Joe Kiani, founded A Starting Point when they realized how over-saturated and overwhelming the landscape for political information was, leading them to develop a platform to help point voters toward information directly from bipartisan policymakers themselves.

  • "I think you find that young people actually want clean information, I think they feel either it's either too daunting or too negative, so we try to create a place where they can start, and break some complicated things down," Kassen said.

What's next: A Starting Point convened high school voters at a Q&A meeting with White House officials the morning after this conversation to further their mission of inspiring youth voter turnout and engaging with the next generation of voters. They also have future plans to continue growing into state-level politics to inform younger voters on local issues.

  • "That's one of the things that I've noticed when you talk to young voters, there's a lot of frustration with federal government. At a federal level, things are challenging, it takes time, and it doesn't always work … at a state level you can actually see things get done," Evans said. "If you let that frustration metastasize into apathy, you lose someone to politics. So making sure they remember that the state level exists where you can actually see real change happen in real time, that's important."
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