[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/01/art.heffner.jpg caption=”Alexander Heffner also hosts a radio show, broadcasting from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.”]
This year, 44 million Americans ages 18 to 29 will be eligible to vote. The youth vote will account for about a quarter of the entire electorate, which means the candidates are focused on getting young people to the polls. So is the founder of Scoop08, Alexander Heffner – but in a different way.
Heffner, an 18-year-old high school senior, organized 300 student volunteers from high schools and colleges from diverse regions and ideological backgrounds to work on what he calls “a new kind of newspaper.” Each student is dispatched on issue-based rather than horse race-focused beats, like “Libertarian Party,” “Rhetoric” and “Social Networking.” The idea behind Scoop08: young people covering the issues in a smart way, but also in a way that they would tell their friends.
Scoop08 is all about young people, but Heffner realized that help from the pros only makes the youth push better. The newspaper’s advisory board is stellar: Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, National Review founder William F. Buckley and Judy Woodruff of PBS, to name a few. At Scoop08, they know and respect the rules and norms of political coverage, and know how to break them.
Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview