Amanda Michael – OffTheBus.Net

Posted on 08. Oct, 2007 by in Politics, Uncategorized

Your work in networked/citizen/collaborative journalism.
I currently work as the Project Director for OffTheBus, a new media collaboration between the Huffington Post and NewAssignment.Net. Previously I worked on Assignment Zero, and before that on political campaigns (Dean and Kerry) as well as at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. To the project I bring experience with online organizing and volunteer management.

What are your goals?
Our main goal is to provide an excellent alternative to horserace coverage of the ’08 election, whether it’s achieved through reporting done by our correspondents or through distributed journalism. We are, like many others here, also interested in innovating via technology, but our primary goal is our coverage.

Notable achievements?
We are a very new project.
We launched in the middle of the summer, and since then have published several noteworthy stories, include several produced through distributed reporting. For example, “Romney Buys Conservatives” came about as OffTheBus members researched the 2nd quarter FEC reports. We most recently launched our Campaign Field Guide, a wiki complete with full lists of campaign staffers on all the campaigns.

Lessons you’ve learned (including mistakes you’ve made)
The biggest challenge is how to turn input into content. Only a small percentage of our members contribute blogposts or articles to us, and most send through research, tips, paragraphs, snippets, etc.. We have experimented with different types of content and features in the last two months, and now regularly produce, among others, a group-collaborative humor piece called Roadkill daily. What we’re learning is that we have to invest a significant percentage of our time and effort into our writers, and then we can begin our distributed work.

Are you getting revenue for this? How?
We’re funded through donations and grants. No revenue. Arianna Huffington is a publisher of the project, and the Huffington Post has very generously provided us with technical support, site hosting, etc..

What’s next? What do you need to get to the next level?
Several things:
* We are looking for more correspondents who report back on the impact of the presidential campaigns, local organizing, etc. in their towns and states.
* We are looking for partners who want to work with us on distributed journalism projects.
* We share content. If anyone else at the conference is producing content you think should be profiled at OffTheBus or is interested in featuring our content on their site, let’s talk.

Anyone you’d like to talk with, learn from, or work with at the summit
* Robin Sloan
Michael Mcintee

* Alan Levy
* Jennifer Carroll
* Derek Willis
* Lisa Williams

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