MTV connecting to the electorate

A Knoxville native is the Tennessee citizen journalist on MTV's Street Team '08, which was announced last week.

The Street Team is made up of 51 citizen reporters who will follow the 2008 election with weekly multimedia reports optimized for mobile devices. See a story with the full list.

The reports will be distributed on MTV's mobile site, its social site think.mtv.com and the Associated Press' Online Video Network, which includes knoxnews.com.

The Tennessee reporter is Nashville-based Dustin Ogdin, a documentary filmmaker, whose latest project is "Shielded Brutality."  He also did a short this year on the "living wage" controversy at Vanderbilt University.

He says on his think.mtv.com page:

I joined Think because I'm truly excited about the possibilities for online grassroots activism and journalism.  Digital technology has leveled the playing field between big, homogenized corporate-controlled media and engaged, concerned individuals with a point of view.  Never has there been a more exciting time for people looking to affect change and become involved in media, activism, or politics.
MTV's citizen journalism initiative is funded with a a $700,000 Knight News Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight News Challenge is spending $5 million a year over five years to fund innovative community news experiments.

I believe we will see the most innovative campaign coverage ever in this presidential cycle. We've already seen video questions from non-journalists in debates in the CNN/YouTube debates and various truth checkers, map mashups, Twittering candidates and other cool election tools. 2008 will definitely be the year of the Internet Election, but it will also herald the arrival of cell phone coverage.

This project's focus on citizen journalists delivering video dispatches for cell phones is doubly intriguing.