Huffington launches ‘citizen reporter’ election site

A web democracy campaigner who spearheaded the online component of Labour’s 2005 re-election campaign is joining blog publishing maven Arianna Huffington and online journalism experiment for a new political news project.

Society doyenne Ms Huffington, whose Huffington Post has become a must-read for liberal political opinion in the US, said she will next month launch OffTheBus, an effort to have the online masses contribute to fair and balanced 2008 Presidential election coverage.

“Instead of looking at which candidate has made the most interesting national security proposal or who the candidates surround themselves with as advisers, we get endless discussions of who’s up, who’s down, who’s gaining traction, and who’s losing it,” Ms Huffington wrote.

OffTheBus, a joint initiative with New York University professor Jay Rosen’s, will ask people to cover the election race from the electorate’s perspective rather than the bubble of the campaign bus many complain professional reporters are too dependent on.

Zack Exley, who was a director at respected political advocacy movement before strategising internet use in Tony Blair’s last general election, will serve as senior advisor while participation director Amanda Michel will be project director.

The team had recently worked on the Assignment Zero project with Wired News to crowdsource the research and writing of news articles.