For two weeks every four years, the media and the politicos gather
for the insider's ritual of selecting a presidential candidate. Really,
it's an opportunity for them to party, schmooze and show the special
interests, who support their cause, a good time. The role of the citizen
in these pageants is, at best, as passive consumer.
So, what happens when you toss in a pair of citizen reporters, and
put them on national television asking the one question that
conventioneers don't want to answer: What are you doing to get money out
We launched the Digital Citizen
experiment in July 2012 to find out. The big idea is to find citizen
journalists to cover the 2012 elections from a citizen's point of view,
with a focus on an issue we know Americans care about: the corrupting
influence of money in politics. A Reuters/Ipsos poll
from May found that "most Americans [75%], no matter what their
political party, believe there is too much money in politics ..." The
poll showed that 76 percent "feel that the amount of money in elections
has given rich people more influence than other Americans."
The first experiment will be a series of reports from the Republican
National Convention in Tampa, Fla., August 27-30 and the Democratic
National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.,
September 3-6. The past months have been spent locating partners and
finding potential reporters. We are creating a process that will reveal
whether the citizens' voice can make a difference in the national
dialogue, even -- especially -- when the political and media powers want
to ignore what the people have to say.
But first, we had to find and train the reporters.