November 5, 2018

A full-page ad in every college newspaper in America? 

Challenge accepted.

When decided to try to amp up the youth vote during the upcoming midterms, it turned to college media.

More specifically, to Flytedesk, a Boulder, Colorado, startup dedicated to connecting advertisers with campus media.

Together, the groups managed to get ads booked in every known printed college newspaper in America — about 1,300 of them, they said.

Organizers are calling it the "largest campus-wide Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign ever."

Flytedesk founder and CEO Alex Kronman said his experiences as a college newspaper editor struggling with a shrinking budget led him to start  Flytedesk, a full-service ad-buying platform that employs 22 and works regularly with hundreds of college newspapers.

The non-partisan works to get more Americans to vote and "create a reflective democracy where the electorate mirrors the overall population." This campaign is focusing its efforts on registered minority voters, those who voted the first time in 2016, and young voters. 

“College students are immensely difficult to reach through traditional tactics, as most block ads online and very few have cable TV,” Kronman said. “By getting on campus — through the media channels most relevant to students’ lives — is running the highest-impact campus engagement program we’ve ever seen.”

The group is also advertising on 2,500 billboards in 17 metros and texting 11 million people. says that about 40 million voters who cast a ballot two years ago aren't likely to vote in this year's midterms without repeated messaging and encouragement.

The non-partisan ads, which simply encourage readers to vote or register to vote, have been printed on a rolling basis in advance of the midterm election on Tuesday.

"This is the first time that anyone has ever purchased ad space in every single college newspaper in the country," Kronman said. 

More midterms coverage:

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Barbara Allen is the director of college programming for Poynter. Prior to that, she served as managing editor of She spent two decades in…
Barbara Allen

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