The Huffington Post’s Citizen Journalism Unit turned to two West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism students to be its “Eyes & Ears” during the 2010 midterm elections.

News-editorial seniors Paige Lavender of Charleston, W.Va., and Morgan Young of Upper Marlboro, Md., collaborated on the article West Virginia Candidates Use New Media to Reach Constituents which posted on the day before the election.

The article discussed how congressional candidates Mike Oliverio and David McKinley and U.S. Senate candidate Joe Manchin used social media in their campaigns and the perceived pros and cons that surrounded those choices.

Lavender and Young worked with Huffington Post Social News Editor Rebecca Harrington, who led the paper’s “Eyes & Ears 2010” coverage of the elections.

Lavender and Young discovered the opportunity through the school’s relationship with Huffington Post D.C. Bureau’s Vice President and General Manger Peter Cherukuri, a member of the School’s Visiting Committee. They said it took them two weeks to hone in on their topic, do the research, interview their sources and write the article.

Lavender said this wasn’t the first time her story had been printed by a major publication, but for her, it was the most special to date.

“It was especially exciting to see our article on a nationally read website. For me, the Huffington Post is one of the best,” said Lavender. “We worked very hard on the article in the days leading up to the election. The story is important because it shows how political campaigns are changing and adapting to growing forms of online media – a forum that I think will be extremely relevant in future elections.”

Young said she also felt a sense of pride when she saw the finished story online. She said it was very important for her to represent WVU and the state in a very professional way.

“I’m not from West Virginia, but I love this state – and this school means a lot to me,” said Young. “It was very important for us to write something that was beyond professional and that showed young writers from West Virginia can get published in major publications like the Huffington Post.”

The Huffington Post’s “Eyes & Ears 2010” coverage was an opportunity for citizen journalists in several states to cover their House and Senate races.



CONTACT: Kimberly Brown, School of Journalism
304-293-3505 ext. 5403

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