Huffington Post Sending Two-Dozen Citizen Journalists to Cover 2012 RNC and DNC

The Huffington Post is giving two-dozen citizen journalists the opportunity to cover the 2012 presidential-nominating conventions. Howard Fineman, editorial director for AOL Huffington Post Media Group, made the announcement this week.

HuffPost is one of the largest news websites in the world, branding itself as “The Internet Newspaper.” But within the media industry it probably has as many critics as it does fans, often criticized for how it drives a substantial amount of traffic to its site through content aggregation, and for a sizeable portion of its original content it doesn’t compensate its writers/bloggers.

Last fall, HuffPost launched “Off The Bus,” its election-year program allowing citizen journalists to get involved with political coverage by submitting short blog posts, photos, and videos based on things they might have seen or heard at campaign events in their town, through campaign mailers, and such.

Now, they’re taking it a step further with this new contest, Off The Bus: Cover The Conventions.

“We want to find the best, most creative citizen journalists in America and Canada and send them, at our expense, to Tampa and Charlotte and help us cover the scene in their own way, with their own vision and their own ideas,” Fineman writes.

Specifically, HuffPost will select up to 24 citizen journalists—up to 12 for each convention—to cover the Republican National Convention in Tampa, August 27-30, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, September 3-6. The winners will get airfare, hotel accommodation for five nights, a per diem, and access to The Huffington Post’s work/social sites near the conventions and to HuffPost and other newsmaker events.

To enter the contest, send an embeddable video explaining why they should choose you, what you would cover, and which medium (or mix of them) you want to use to do so. Send the video, or a link to it, to by March 8. HuffPost will place the videos on its site, and then, with the help of readers, HuffPost editors will select the winners. Click here for contest rules.

This could be the opportunity of a lifetime for several young or aspiring journalists or for other professionals who’ve always wanted to try their hand at reporting. The Huffington Post is the 87th most visited website in the world and 24th most visited in the United States (ranking ahead of The New York Times and FOX News’ websites), according to Alexa.

Fineman describes the upcoming conventions as potentially being like something we’ve never seen or many of us are too young to remember.

“For the first time in two generations, there is a chance of an open convention—that is, one in which no candidate arrives with a majority of delegates in hand. That could happen at the GOP convention in Tampa this year,” he says.

“The Democrats know whom they are going to nominate—President Obama—but the action in Charlotte could be interesting for two reasons: the Democrats’ need to put on a show to impress the nation, and the possibility that Occupy Wall Street forces will be in the streets.”

From CO to CJR

In other convention media-related news, Andria Krewson, a veteran journalist who worked at The Charlotte Observer for more than fifteen years, announced yesterday on Twitter that it was her last day at the newspaper. She’s taking a position writing for Columbia Journalism Review’s “Swing States Project.” Here’s how the project is described on the website: “Throughout the 2012 election season, CJR reporters on the ground in key states will watchdog local press coverage of political rhetoric and money in politics.” Krewson explains in more detail here the work she'll be doing.

Categories: The DNC In The CLT