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Huffington Post's 'Cover the Conventions' Contest for Citizen Journalists: Why Not You?

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You read the news. Or watch, or listen to it. Maybe you sometimes think: I could do that!

In late February, Howard Fineman announced our Cover the Conventions Contest, inviting the public to make a pitch to us about why they should be chosen to cover the Democratic and/or Republican Conventions this summer as a citizen journalist.

From the submissions we receive, we hope to find up to 24 people we'd be willing to place our bets on. Below are three that give you a feeling for a range of possibilities. Check our their videos!

Candidate # 1, Karl Eysenbach, was one of the very first to jump on the opportunity when the contest was launched. He's a mature man with a wry sense of humor who knows politics inside out.

"I was a close hand observer of some of the goings on at the Chicago Democratic Convention of 1968, and I guess it warped me for life," he wrote in.

A native of Eugene, Oregon, who now winters in Baja California, he blogs on Open Salon specializing in politics and world affairs, and has published a novel. The Story of the Century, a reportorial romance/ thriller! He also brings over 40 years of experience to his observations of politics, he claims, having served in federal, state, and local government and been active in every level of politics since 1967.

"This would be the chance of a lifetime for me, as it's something that I've always wanted to do. And I'm one of those people whose entire life has been revolving around the theory and practice of politics," Karl says.

Candidate #2, Cassaundra Nicole Simpson from Chicago, earned a degree in political science from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville, where she burnished her passion for the democratic process. She also loves drama and poetry, as you can see at her blog at http://iampoliticsplayspoetry.blogspot.com/.

"I believe it is our duty to enlighten people on how policies affect them," she says. "As journalists, our duty is to the masses. At the end of the day, our founding fathers believed in the masses. There's one leader...but we choose that leader. I believe in the power of the people and I want to be that voice [of the people] at the Democratic National Convention."

Last but not least is Candidate#3, Tianna Manon a journalism and political science major at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York State. Poised in front of the camera and familiar with the concept of the press conference, she also polishes her writing skills at http://talkback4teens.wordpress.com/. She recently posted "A Heartbreaking Story" about the impact of socioeconomic status and racial attitudes on the self-image of black teens.

Off the Bus values all the above submissions. We also believe that there are countless other people out there, in the U.S. and Canada, who could also vie for a chance to bring their special talents, life experience and perspectives to their coverage of either the Democratic or Republican Conventions and any related events taking place simultaneously in Charlotte or Tampa.

What do you think? Should we send these citizen journalists to the conventions? Do you think you could do better? Go ahead. Take a chance, and send us your video pitch by midnight, June 29. We can't wait to see them!

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