Alexander Heffner discussed Scoop08.com, a startup non-partisan student publication he co-founded to offer fresh coverage of the 2008 presidential election through a national network of student journalists. Scoop08 strives to offer distinctive youth perspectives on the race, with innovative and unconventional beats such as “Independent Candidate,” “Rhetoric,” and “Arts” Correspondents as well as a diverse array of columnists. With a full-fledged editorial board and committed staff writers and copy editors, the Website operates like any professional electronic or print magazine. Presently, Scoop08 has a network of several hundred student journalists across the country and abroad, and actively continues to recruit new editors and writers. Its staff hails from colleges and high schools across America, from Phillips Academy, Yale, and Harvard to Ohio University, Arizona State, Washington University in St. Louis to Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California.
Scoop08 welcomes veteran student journalists to join its staff, and encourages first-time writers to submit freelance articles and posts to gain experience. Between academic and extracurricular activities, keeping the Website updated daily has been a demanding task, one enthusiastically embraced by its editors and writers. As the 2008 primary campaign takes us into the general election, Scoop08 continues to accept submissions and to publish long-term features and investigative reports delving ever more deeply into the presidential frontrunners, their policy positions and initiatives, and the implications of their would-be presidencies.
Since its birth in November 2007, Scoop08 has grappled with the myriad questions facing online news outlets and virtual newsrooms. Beyond print, how should multimedia be integrated into a news Website? How can journalism—traditional ink as well as new technologies—arouse student interest in public affairs and combat voter apathy? Which tactics work—and which don’t? Without horse race-centered coverage, how can a Website report and present thoughtful, even academic, ideas and still generate buzz in the mainstream media and the blogosphere? How can responsible young people (and adults too) participate in a two-way conversation with the news gatherers and pundits? How can well-informed readers of all ages evolve into trustworthy citizen journalists and writers, upholding lasting principles of “good journalism?” Indeed, can we agree on what makes sound journalistic practices and an informative, truly meaningful story? Join us to discuss Scoop08.com, as old-school meets new-school in the world of online journalism.
Alexander Heffner is a senior at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Scoop08.com, an online national student newspaper dedicated to coverage of the 2008 presidential election. Its advisory board includes former U.S. Senators Gary Hart and Alan Simpson as well as journalists Jonathan Alter, Frank Rich, and Judy Woodruff. Heffner is general manager of WPAA, the Academy’s radio station, and founder of The Political Arena with Alexander Heffner, a public affairs program for which he has interviewed prominent figures in politics, journalism, and academic life, including Douglas Brinkley, Doris Kearns Goodwin, James Leach, Bob Kerrey, Jim Lehrer, Helen Thomas, John Zogby, and Mort Zuckerman, among others. This past summer, Heffner served as an online writer for Columbia Journalism Review. For his work in journalism and politics, he was recently named a “Young Person Who Rocks” by CNN.
The video and audio from this event will be posted to our Interactive section.
Last updated October 31, 2008