The faces behind Voting Young. Photo by Khari Williams.
Many voters will be visiting the polls for the first time this election year. With so many diverse issues at hand, American University students in Washington, D.C., decided to report on issues that matter to their peers in a project called Voting Young.

The class project included original reporting from students in Professor Amy Eisman’s Writing for Convergent Media class, and a survey distributed and analyzed by students in Professor Maria Ivancin’s Public Communication Research class.

According to Ivancin, the survey was given to 425 college students ages 18 to 21 on eight campuses in the Washington area. The surveys were completed from March 6 to 20.

Eisman said survey questions were based on relevant topics for each age group, such as who they would like to see as president and what influences their political views. Fifteen original stories were developed by Eisman’s students, ranging from social media’s role in the election to a feature about two roommates with opposing political beliefs.

Managing editor Heather Caygle said her goal was to do something new and innovative. The 24-year-old graduated in May with a master’s degree in journalism and now works as a Bloomberg BNA fellow.

Caygle told the reporters to think of each story as a package with words, visual graphics, and videos. “Multimedia is the name of the game now,” she said.

Webmaster Sylvia Carignan designed the project’s site and produced multimedia elements such as infographics for the stories. The 21-year-old graduated this year with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is now a local homepage production assistant with The Washington Post.

“I think young people have a tendency to think of journalism as focused on hard news reporting and gathering bylines, but it’s a much bigger world than that,” Carignan said. “The news industry has room for people who want to create iPhone and Android apps, or build interactive infographics, or be social media community leaders.”

For more information on Voting Young, visit votingyoung.com.

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