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Michelle Obama joins Upworthy to promote her higher education initiative

Or maybe you will, if this headline is any indication.


Eric Geller

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 9, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 3:16 pm CDT

The Obama administration has a new plan to engage with millennials, and you won’t believe what site they chose. Or maybe you will, if this lede is any indication.

The White House announced yesterday that Michelle Obama has joined the viral news and media site Upworthy as a “guest curator” to promote her higher education program Reach Higher.

“Mrs. Obama kicks off the series as she hits the road with Secretary Duncan on his annual Back to School Bus Tour,” writes White House Director of Online Engagement Kori Schulman.

The first post from the First Lady is headlined “I Really Hope the Parents of These People Get to See What They Said Here. They’d Probably Cry.” It begins as a story about Mrs. Obama’s own college experience: “When I got to campus as a freshman, I’ll admit I was a little overwhelmed.” It then segues into a video featuring students at Kansas State University who are the first in their family to go to college.

“It’s up to all of us to make sure we’re helping our young people reach higher and take charge of their futures,” Mrs. Obama writes.

The First Lady and her team have aggressively used social media and public appearances in youth-friendly formats to promote her priorities. To raise awareness about the need for exercise, she launched the “Let’s Move!” campaign, Obama has appeared on everything from The Tonight Show and Parks and Recreation to a Funny or Die sketch called “Snackpocalypse.” To promote her “Joining Forces” program for military veterans, Obama appeared on the Nickelodeon series iCarly in January 2012.

The three-and-a-half minute video in Mrs. Obama’s debut Upworthy post is actually a trailer for a KSU documentary entitled “A Walk in My Shows: First First Generation College Students” that is set to premiere at the university’s Forum Hall on Nov. 4—the same day, incidentally, that the Democratic Party is projected to lose the U.S. Senate in the midterm elections.

Photo via Amanda Bossard/Medill News Service/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Sep 9, 2014, 10:38 am CDT