Saturday, April 14, 2007

The get out the vote "Pod Squad"

Newspapers say they are looking to get younger people to come to their Web sites or read their paper.

Well, to mix metaphors, they might take a page out of the book being written by S.C. Educational TV. SCETV has created Ready to Vote, a site aimed especially at high school students. But it isn't just the usual text and lesson-plan stuff. This one is very big on multimedia, with two important points:
  • High school students are being encouraged to create their own election videos and send them in. This is very smart -- go to the medium they are growing up in. How many newspapers are recruiting high school students to submit videos -- or for that matter just submit articles to go in the paper and on the Web site?
  • SCETV has created a "Pod Squad" of college journalism students to prime the pump, but also to visit high schools and take the message -- and the training with them. Check out this from the teachers' page:

Your school can have a lesson taught by Ready to Vote's very own POD SQUAD!!!

Anytime through the school year that you would like the Pod Squad to come and speak to your classes about journalism, politics and the two combined just email Amanda Alpert at

The lessons include a Presidential candidate montage video, PowerPoint lesson, a quiz with PRIZES and a question and answer portion. The Pod Squad will also endorse having students participate in having their very own work posted on the Ready to Vote website.

Does your paper have a "Pod Squad" to take the message -- whatever message it is you want to send about this buisness and the world in general -- to your schools? Have you considered working with any area colleges to help? What are you doing to encourage students to contribute work? (And I mean beyond the shopworn "teen reporters" concept -- that smacks of the same cliquishness that pervades the halls of your local high school; you've got to be willing to open submissions to everyone and judge each on its merits.)

Finally, take a look at the media page. I think its format is also something to think about. I like the media matrix effect instead of just having one video window with a lot of text stuff around it. (Note: Some weirdness here: The matrix comes up in old Netscape 7.x, but in Firefox 2.x, a couple of the video squares are missing. How weird is that ... It all works in IE)

Thoughts anyone?

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