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Are You Free To Report This Saturday?

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On Saturday October 13, Barack Obama's presidential campaign is organizing "Canvass for Change," a grassroots mobilization in neighborhoods around the country. We're looking for volunteers to gather stories and observations from those events. With the help of Mayhill Fowler, an OffTheBus correspondent who has been covering Barack Obama's grassroots organizing in the Bay Area, we'll use your reports as the next chapter in a continuing story about how presidential grassroots campaigning is changing and the effect those changes are having on the upcoming election -- and American democracy as a whole.

The point of the Canvass for Change, according to material on Barack Obama's website, is for supporters to relay to their friends, neighbors, and acquaintances that Barack Obama has always opposed the war in Iraq. The questions that you, as citizen reporters can answer, are the importance of this issue to Obama's supporters and how Obama's message is received by their neighbors. Just as importantly, collectively we can get insight into how a major campaign pushes its message in what's one of the most classic of campaign events - a canvass.

Sign up to be an OffTheBus Campaign Monitor here
, and we'll work with you on reporting this Saturday's event.

Traditional news outlets simply don't have the resources to cover a campaign event that spans hundreds of different locations simultaneously -- after all, their reporters are all cooped up on the campaign bus! If there are any stories at all about this event, it's likely that the reporters will talk to a campaign spokesperson, and possibly one or two volunteers who are put forward by the campaign.

That's where OffTheBus -- and you -- come in. We want to be able to tell the whole story about this event and others like it for the duration of the race. But we - and Mayhill Fowler - need your help to drill down into the details. How well is this canvass really organized? How many people are actually showing up? Do volunteers feel they're making a difference? How are volunteers received by their friends and neighbors?

Sign up to be an OffTheBus Campaign Monitor here
, and we'll work with you on reporting this Saturday's event.

If we get several dozen reports from events in diverse locations this Saturday, it will give us a birds-eye view into this big field event. For those of you who participate, we'll report the initial results back to you. Mayhill Fowler will analyze your reports with the intentions of writing a piece for OffTheBus. We think this can open up our campaign reporting, but it depends on you - please join us.