Scoop08: Students On Politics

This story was written by Evan Pelz, Brown Daily Herald
Students around the country now have an alternative news source for coverage of the upcoming 2008 presidential election, written by students like themselves.

Scoop08, an online student publication with nearly 500 student correspondents across the country, was created "to show that students around the country can band together to report -- that there can be such a thing as a national student newspaper," said co-founder Andrew Mangino, a Yale junior.

Mangino began the project with Alexander Heffner, a high school senior at Phillips Academy, in late December 2006. The importance of this election and the Internet's ability to reach a wide audience led him to start the project, he said.

The project is currently in a preview stage, but this Thursday stories will begin to be posted and live blogging about the CNN Democratic presidential debate in Nevada will begin.

Mangino said he and Heffner wanted to usher in "a new era of political reporting by covering angles not otherwise covered." On Scoop08, third-party candidates receive as much coverage as frontrunners like Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

Correspondents for the site research the policy they cover, Mangino said. Off-beat issues such as candidates' preferences in art, film and design, which are of interest to students, will also be covered.

Scoop08 may soon become international, Mangino said.

"The network (of student correspondents) is growing all the time, now nearing about 500 around the country and the world," Mangino said. "Now in Egypt and South Korea, there are some American students studying abroad and also international students that want to contribute."

Mangino said the process to become a writer for Scoop08 is pretty simple: "Simply click 'Apply to write' and fill out a quick form and what beat you want," he said.

Writers' beats, or areas of specialization, cover specific issues.

"Everyone is specialized to become an expert on a specific niche and go headfirst into it but all vow to remain politically neutral and objective," Mangino said.

Scoop08's network of correspondents includes some students here at Brown. Anish Mitra '10 is one of two Republican Candidate Editors for Scoop08. He said he got involved in September after a month-long correspondence with Heffner. His position places him and his co-editor in charge of all articles about Republican candidates.

Mitra said Scoop08 is important as a new type of news source that can encourage college students to vote.

"If you look at most of the people covering the 2008 election, it's mostly big time news sources like CNN, MSNBC, Time -- basically what normally covers the news anyways," Mitra said. "Scoop08 is pretty much trying to start a student-run, ground-roots kind of journalism project, trying to mobilize the young people to vote because this election is pretty important."

As an editorial columnist for Scoop08, Herald Opinions Columnist Sean Quigley '10 sends an article he has written on whatever topic he chooses every one or two weeks.

"It actually is pretty hard to get new ideas for every two weeks," he said. "Sometimes you don't get inspiration, and you have to search for it."

Mangino said the site will continue producing content until the election, and Mitra and Quigley both said they expect to continue to write for it.
© 2007 Brown Daily Herald via U-WIRE
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