*Sites Team to Market Youth-Vote Webcast

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Schoolcity.com and Youthvote2000.com have enlisted major marketing help to promote a live, student-led Webcast next month centering on the dynamics of the fall presidential election.


The Webcast will be broadcast on Youthvote2000.com at 11 a.m. March 6 - just before the primaries heat up on Super Tuesday and during the time of day when students can access the Webcast from their classrooms.


The program will culminate a full weekend of events as part of the Youth Vote 2000 Pre-Primary Conference in Los Angeles. A large part of the broadcast will involve students talking with each other and with candidates about issues, either at the event itself or through a proposed interactive portion of the broadcast.


To provide support for this nonprofit event, the sites have enlisted help from their host committee members, which include companies from all aspects of the media, to market the project.


Cumulus Media, Atlanta, a national radio network, has agreed to air hundreds of 30-second spots over its 311 stations, covering 61 different markets nationally.


In addition, youth-oriented Web site Teenink.com, Youth Service America's site ysa.com and chickclick.com have agreed to post banner ads and information related to the event. The New York Times, perhaps the largest contributor, has started marketing the Webcast through banner ads on its site and print ads in its daily newspaper.


"This event is a great opportunity to educate the youth of America about the election issues and, most importantly, to let them have their say," said Victoria Costello, executive producer of the Webcast and vice president of content at Schoolcity.com.


"The marketing partnerships we have formed will not only help get the word out, but will allow more educational Webcasts to take place in the future."


AmnestyInternational.com will allow event organizers to use its database of 35,000 high school teachers to e-mail information and contest rules to ensure student and teacher participation.


The organizers also are hoping that their partnership with Amnesty International will allow them to schedule further international Webcasts with such luminaries as Nelson Mandela.


The event is part of an overall strategy by organizers to build a solid marketing and content foundation for present and future events.


Currently, the sites are running a contest in conjunction with Schoolcity.com's new online student magazine, Free Speech, in which the best student reporters from around the country will be able to interview presidential candidates either live or by videotape, to be broadcast on the day of the event.


"Through the contest tie-in with our online youth publication and the event marketing, we are building for the future. We can regularly use this technology to educate kids and give them a chance to communicate with influential people and other students and teachers," Costello said.
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