Longreads announced the new focus on their blog a few days ago. They are working with up with Aileen Gallagher, assistant professor at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications, to "search for and share outstanding student work."
Just to be clear, this isn't a sign that Longreads plans to ignore the rest of journalism; this project is more intended to find and encourage the next generation of journalists. Here's more from the blog post:
Throughout May and June, a new generation of reporters, writers, editors, and essayists make their way out of school and into the professional world. They come bearing clips, work samples produced for class or during an internship. Hundreds of media outlets at colleges and universities across the country publish student work, and an equal number of professors, instructors, and advisors help students report, write, and edit their best journalism. We’d like to encourage those writers to produce more and better work, and introduce these new voices to a wider audience of readers—and maybe even future employers and mentors.
If you come across an article by a college student that might interest Longreads, you can bring it to their attention by tagging it on Twitter or Tumblr with the hashtags #college #longreads.