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Confessions of a Citizen Journalist, So What’s New?

OffTheBus, is Jay Rosen’s and the Huffington Post’s move to get citizen reporting and citizen insights into Presidential election news mix. To understand part of the process read this piece by OffThe Bus contributor Bryan Bissell. The OffTheBus editors sent  him to cover the hostage taking at the Clinton Headquarters in New Hampshire,. About midway through his reflective piece, Bissell writes:

Packs of television reporters scurried around doing the same thing I was doing, only more aggressively and with a bigger camera and a better dressed inquisitor at the helm. It was then that I fully realized that I was part of the media circus myself. I turned around and headed back toward my car.

If you read his account, and if you read the bomb-threat briefs being filed at OffTheBus, you will indeed see that OffTheBus was 100 percent caught up in the media circus. Why? I thought OffTheBus would be an alternative to being on the bus. On the day of the hostage taking National Public Radio mentioned it in the news, but hardly went scurrying around as OffTheBus did.

Bissell’s little essay is as much OffTheWall as it is OffTheBus, but as a former editor, it tells me that with some real editorial direction, he could accomplish his own goal which is to be:

 …a footsoldier for truth, telling stories about life on the ground on America’s finest political stage, the 2008 New Hampshire Primary.

So the challenge for Rosen, the Huffington Post and OffTheBus editors is how to assist him in telling stories about life on the ground as a footsolider for truth and to ensure he is not just one more part of the media circus.

The goals for OffTheBus are still not fully clear to me. I have watched Grayson Daughters videos, they are very good. I know Daughters, she has a quirky style, but you will not see it in her OffTheBus videos. They seem just like the mainstream’s stuff. So what’s the point?  I have to try to set up an interview with Rosen or other OffTheBus decision maker to see what they are thinking.

One Response to “Confessions of a Citizen Journalist, So What’s New?”

  1. Grayson Says:

    Yeah, I know what you mean. Maybe I’m just too mainstream-trained when it comes to doing videos. Someone younger and quirkier should have at OTB. I don’t think I’m necessarily the right fit for what they’re trying to do.

    Right now, I’m working more local, more southern, more mainstream traditional journalism. Check out some of these I’ve done for IA/Southern Political Report at the CNN/YouTube debate in St. Pete. We were never able to go live online, as we intended, due to some serious TDs with some new software; however, we had some fun shooting before the event and in the wacky Spin Room afterwards.