The Huffington Post experimented with their citizen reporting section on politics, OffTheBus.org in 2007. Due to its success during the 2008 US presidential campaign, they’re bringing it back.
We call it OffTheBus to make a point about what we — you, really — will be up to. In 1973, Timothy Crouse wrote a path-breaking book about political journalism called The Boys on the Bus. The national press, he explained, had become a story, if not THE story, and the paradoxically insulated world they inhabited on the campaign trail wasn’t always the best place to get the real story.
The criticism wasn’t entirely fair. Then, as now, professional reporters can and do get off the Bus. But, arguably, no one can see America better than the people who never get on the vehicle in the first place — in other words, all of you.
The idea is simply to offer a vehicle for Americans (and anyone else) to take part in the process of covering politics — as an act of citizenship, if they view it that way; for fun, if they view it that way; as a means for joining forces with other like-minded people to shed light on the 2012 campaign in ways other forms of reporting can’t.