"Off the Bus" is a pro-am journalism page sponsored by the Huffington Post.

Off the Bus” is a page on The Huffington Post dedicated to citizen journalism related to the upcoming elections. Contributors include professionals in politics, education, and media as well as journalism students and those who are interested in the political process. The Huffington Post gives out assignments and also allows people to post their own stories and experiences.

Pro-am reporting

  • This is a pro-am site because it allows anyone to be a reporter to cover issues related to the upcoming elections.
  • With protests going on across the country, “Off the Bus” allows citizens to post photos of protestors. All protests and demonstrations can be covered, even ones in small towns. As Mark Briggs says in Journalism Next, news reporters can’t be everywhere. This site allows citizens to show what is going on around the country.

Covering all viewpoints

  • The 2012 Presidential Election is a very broad topic. By allowing many different people to contribute to this pro-am site, hundreds of angles can get covered. Sometimes the average citizen can find an issue that has been overlooked by mainstream media.
  • This site also allows for hyper-local reporting. Many stories pertain to specific states or cities that have held political rallies or discussions.
  • “Off the Bus” changes the way the media looks at politics. Instead of focusing on the political candidates and where they are campaigning, this site shows how the country is viewing the elections. It shows what is going on around the country in relation to the candidates but focuses more on the average citizen.

Negative points about the website

  • There is not much organization or categories. All articles are posted on the same page and older posts get pushed to the back.
  • The site is a little difficult to navigate. Many links take the viewer away from the “Off the Bus” section and it can be hard to get back to it.

Good points about the website

  • It has a broad range of topics.
  • There are many links to related articles by Huffington Post staffers as well as other citizen journalists.
  • The layout is very attractive with many pictures and catchy headlines.
  • The contributors range from college students to political analysts to journalism professors. This allows for a greater spectrum of knowledge and viewpoints.