Alex Heffner, is eighteen year old co-founder and editor in chief of Scoop08, and gave the Berkman Lunch Series talk on March 11, 2008. The new thing about Scoop is that it is designed to give non-partisan coverage to the election through a network of all-volunteer student journalists. “Not just the usual suspects” is their key mantra and ALex highlights this in a promotional trailer he plays on YouTube.
He is striving for a unique youth perspective, even digging back into high school for contributors, and is only really interested in submissions from youth. He wants accurate breadth of opinion so they have an editorial process Alex seems to take great pride in: they want to maintain old school journalistic techniques in their internet application, so a staff editor reviews the submission and then it goes to managing editor and to the co-founders. Authors sign a contract before publishing and each journalist gets an orientation to publishing on Scoop08. They are hoping to have about a half dozen or dozen reporters and photographers in every state – they see this election as a state based fight for the middle. The are covering every possible aspect of the campaigns, including movies, the arts…
Interestingly. the co-founders see this a live journalistic experiment – a lab in which to evolve effective journalistic ethics and sound journalistic practices for the online sphere, paralleling those in main stream reporting. Their board reflects this, as it includes Judy Woodruff, Frank Rich, and John Palfrey.
The goal is the break news, and have new ideas bubble up, such as their suggestion for a bi-partisan debate. They have a preference for the Q&A journalism technique since they want to dig deeply into candidates histories. They also see a role for this site beyond November, for example issue framing and discussion, but right now their entire focus in on the election.
Crossposted on I&D Blog