The Associated Press is expanding its citizen journalism reach, and attempting to build its brand among college students, by working with MTV on its Choose Or Lose campaign coverage. Earlier this month, Tom Curley, the news organization’s CEO, told us that the AP was focusing on courting “sophisticated news readers.” While MTV’s audience isn’t necessarily PBS, MTV does have a social conscious focus, which has underlined its recent ThinkMTV social network for youth activists and those who watch its election coverage do tend to be developing political awareness. And while in the past, wire services didn’t have to worry about reaching the public as much as they do now, given the direct nature of blogs and other social media.
The project is backed by a $700,000 Knight Foundation grant for citizen journalism. AP and MTV have recruited 51 student journalists for “Street Team ’08;” they’ll file weekly reports in the form of short videos, blogs, animation, photos and podcasts to be distributed on a still-under-construction WAP site, MTV Mobile. Also, the posts will also be integrated with Think.MTV.com and available to the more than 1,800 sites in the AP’s Online Video Network. In the past, the AP has collaborated with MTV on a research study examining what makes students “happy” and on polls. But this is the first joint content initiative. Release