HuffPost editors will select 24 citizen journalists to cover the Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 27th to August 30th and the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3rd to September 6th. The winners — up to 12 for each convention — will get official credentials, airfare, hotel accommodation for five nights, and a basic per diem. They also will get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see history in the making, and report on it as it happens for one of the world’s leading news sites.
All you need to do send in the explanatory video — on the YouTube platform or whatever other platform you want, or by tagging an embedded video as “OfftheBus” on Tumblr.
Calling these citizens “journalists” is an interesting choice. Aren’t they essentially just “sources” like always? Changing times, changing terms. To be explored further…
Not a new question! My favorite answer, about the man who Tweeted the news about the raid on Osama: “Athar is not a citizen journalist simply because he wondered about something on Twitter. Rather, he’s a citizen journalist because when he came across an unusual event, he acted in a journalistic manner.”
It’s a spectrum between source and journalist, I think. (Swap in the word “reporter” for “journalist” and it becomes more straightforward) But when you opt in to taking part in OfftheBus, you’re taking a big step toward the “citizen journalist” end of the spectrum.
As we saw in Iowa, these advertising dollars can mean a lot more than the sexier narratives. Kudos to Patch editors for finding these numbers by going from TV station to TV station, and kudos to Huffington Post for writing the story so well and giving it big play.
Romney’s Iowa victory was too close for comfort - ensuring that the field will remain somewhat competitive at least through South Carolina. Yet there is a strong case that a protracted primary actually helps his chances in November. True, the mudslinging has dealt some blows to the Romney image, but these criticisms - namely that he is a flip-flopper and that he is in the pocket of Wall Street - will increase tenfold in the general election regardless. A primary fight will only serve to toughen and immunize him for when the Democrats unleash invective on him six months from now.
News on Patch/Huffington Post front: Our Patch editors in New Hampshire broke the story of Romney’s son telling a birther joke to finish out 2011 last week, and we have big plans on Tumblr in 2012:
Across the country, HuffPost’s citizen journalism operation OfftheBus will be monitoring the “OfftheBus” tag for citizen journalism to reblog and promote across Huffington Post. If you create any original election reporting on Tumblr—a picture of a flyer you see, the scene from an Occupation, a video of a speaking politician—we’ll do our best to make your reporting as viral as the birther joke was.
OfftheBus Iowa, an aggregation of some of the best shortform reporting from the Hawkeye state, is in the final sprint. Two more statewide efforts in SC and NH are following right behind it.
In Wisconsin, the just-launched Recall Central Tumblr will have the best reporting on the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker. Patch editors have been beating the competition for months, and now they have a statewide hub to build an audience around.
If you have ideas about how we could better use Tumblr to cover the elections hit me up on the Reply, please.
My new job: Director, Multimedia & News Integration for Patch
Specifically, I’ll be integrating Patch’s hundreds of local reporting operations into Huffington Post’s coverage of the 2012 election. This feels like another step in the same direction I’ve been going: For the past few years at FanHouse and NBC Local Media, I’ve been working with scores of writers spread across the country, but this is something on a different scale, and that (along with the focus on the election) excites me.
Speaking of scale: At NBC I’ve been blessed to work with a range of writers, editors, and web geniuses too wide to name individually. But I offer my profound thanks to Josh Kleinbaum and Lauren Bertolini for their work building up our blogs and social media strategies. It’s a great relief to be able to leave your babies in smarter hands than your own. Thanks to the NBC leadership of Brian Buchwald, Greg Gittrich, Lora LeSage, and Greg Scholl. And a special thanks to Janie Campbell and Drew Magary, who proved that we could take our sportswriters and integrate them into all sorts of other coverage.
Speaking of Janie, she was nice enough to send the office an unsolicited vat of pudding on my last day at NBC. This touched me because I love celebratory binges and because it’s an example of the kind of unique for-its-own-sake creativity and generosity I’ve been lucky enough to work with.
It is (to reuse the a word) a blessing to work and empower such people. And when I think about having the chance to let Patch’s 800 editors put their stamp on the election, I see an opportunity to build the country’s deepest river of pudding bench of authentic political reporting.