"Encouraging young people to more actively participate in civic life" on Knight Blog by Christopher Sopher
New York, NY, April 24, 2012— MTV today announced that a world-class coalition of philanthropic, technology, and political accountability partners including Knight Foundation, PolitiFact, RealClearPolitics, foursquare and more are teaming up with the network to launch “Fantasy Election ’12.” Part of MTV’s “Power of 12” campaign, the first-of-its-kind desktop and mobile game will give young people a new way to hold presidential and congressional candidates accountable, and reward youth for getting involved in Election ‘12.
“It’s a fantasy game but the stakes couldn’t be higher. If a fun format, competitive prizes, and credible information give young people the habit of engagement in civic life, it will be a big win,” said Alberto Ibargüen, CEO of Knight Foundation, principal funder of the game.
Similar to Fantasy Football, “Fantasy Election ‘12” enables users to draft a team of candidates pursuing the presidency or congress, earning and losing points based on how their players behave in the real world. Users will also earn bonus points for real world actions like registering to vote, voting, and testing their political knowledge. Overall, success in the game will be based on two things: how candidates behave and what players do.
“How Candidates Behave”
In the way that Fantasy Football awards points when players score touchdowns and deducts points when they throw interceptions, "Fantasy Election ’12" will reward candidates for exhibiting behaviors voters deserve, and penalize politicians for behaviors that hurt our democracy.
Points will be earned via data piped into the game from the following partners:
- PolitiFact: this Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization helps people find the truth in politics by examining politicians’ statements and rating their accuracy on its “Truth-O-Meter.” As candidates make statements on the campaign trail, players will gain/lose points based on their team’s truthfulness, which is rated on a scale from “True” to “Pants on Fire.”
- RealClearPolitics: the definitive political polling data aggregator, RealClearPolitics tracks the performance of virtually every candidate in every race. Candidates who do a good job of connecting with voters and see their polling numbers rise will earn points in the game, while politicians who see their polling numbers drop will be docked points.
- Project Vote Smart: providing unbiased information on over 40,000 candidates and elected officials, Project Vote Smart tracks where candidates stand on key issues – from the economy and education to immigration and national security. MTV will reward candidates who complete Project Vote Smart’s acclaimed “Political Courage Test,” making their positions known on the issues of greatest importance to American voters.
- Center for Responsive Politics: The premier tracker of money in U.S. politics and its effects on elections and public policy, this non-profit research group runs the website OpenSecrets.org. MTV will give bonus points to candidates who openly disclose campaign funding sources as monitored by OpenSecrets.org, and dock points from candidates who aren’t transparent about that information.
- Wesleyan Media Project: hosted at Wesleyan University, the Project enhances transparency by providing the only real-time, publicly available information on the content and targeting of all broadcast television advertisements aired by or on behalf of all federal election candidates in each of the nation’s 210 media markets. Scores based on the Project’s definitive advertising database will be provided to “Fantasy Election ’12.” MTV will reward candidates for discussing issues rather personal traits. Additionally, MTV will deduct points from candidates who air an excessive amount of uncivil, personal ads.
“What Players Do”
Players of “Fantasy Election ‘12” will earn bonus points for getting informed on political issues, and by engaging and participating in the political process. On foursquare and GetGlue, young people who “check-in” on their mobile devices to in-person town hall events, on-air political debates, and to cast their ballot on November 6th will gain extra points. Additionally, players can earn bonus points by registering to vote via Rock the Vote’s simple registration tool. Points can also be gained by sharing the game and getting friends involved, or by participating in a series of daily challenges that will launch this summer.
"Our audience grew up gaming, and ‘Fantasy Election '12’ will give them a fun new way to participate in the electoral process, while also holding candidates accountable," said Jason Rzepka, Vice President of MTV Public Affairs. "The game wouldn't be possible without the backing of our best-in-class partner set, and we're looking forward to joining with them and young people nationwide to have a 'Fantasy Election.'"
Players who excel in “Fantasy Election ’12” will be eligible to win prizes ranging from tickets to MTV’s Video Music Awards to schwag and free downloads. The game, which will launch this summer, is being developed by HYFN, a renowned digital agency who has created social experiences for some of the most recognized brands in the world including Nike, Coke, Disney, Universal and more. The Knight Foundation is the principal funder of the game, providing a $250,000 grant.
Building on MTV’s nearly 20-year Emmy and Peabody Award-winning political legacy with "Choose or Lose," MTV’s “Power of 12” campaign is built specifically to reflect the Millennial generation and changes in the economic and political climate, and is designed to empower them to have a major impact on Election Day and beyond. 45 million 18-29 year olds will be eligible to vote in the 2012 election, representing the largest potential voting bloc in the country.
More details on “Fantasy Election ‘12” will be announced this summer. For information on MTV’s “Power of 12” campaign and “Fantasy Election ‘12,” or details on how to get involved, please visit www.Powerof12.org. To get updates on MTV's “Fantasy Election '12,” and enter to be invited to play the game before it launches publicly, head to powerof12.org/fantasy-election.
MTV is the world’s premier youth entertainment brand. With a global reach of more than a half-billion households, MTV is the cultural home of the millennial generation, music fans and artists, and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young people. MTV reflects and creates pop culture with its Emmy®, Grammy® and Peabody® award-winning content built around compelling storytelling, music discovery and activism across TV, online and mobile. MTV’s sibling networks MTV2 and mtvU each deliver unparalleled customized content for young males, music fans and college students, and its online hub MTV.com is a leading destination for music, news and pop culture. MTV is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. For more information, go to www.mtvpress.com.
Janice Gatti, +1-212-846-8852
Jake Urbanski, +1-212-846-6888
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.