The Post as caucus central?

You’ve probably heard how NYU Professsor Jay Rosen describes those of us who follow the news as, “the people formerly known as the audience.” The reality isn’t a clear cut, because so many news consumers are sooooooooooooo passive, but the phrase definitely reflects the kind of thinking that should be going on at The Denver Post. How to involve US in THEIR journalism?

So you gotta love The Post’s idea to round up news from Tuesday’s caucuses via Twitter and other social media. In a blog post yesterday, titled “What happens in the caucuses shouldn’t stay in caucus–help us cover them,” Political Editor Curtis Hubbard invites you to help The Post “keep readers up-to-speed on the action during our live blogging from 6 to 10 p.m.” (To make citizen journalism easy, The Post included a link to help you find your caucus.)

You can tweet and send photos (using hashtag #caucusCO), and The Post will share them on its gallery. The Post wants to follow all the candidates as well. Its Twitter list is here.

In an interview with me last month, Hubbard talked about trying to use citizen journalists, even partisans from both sides, this election cycle to give The Post access to political events. It looks like this caucus project is one concrete way this is happening.

If this were to take off in a way that The Post could only dream about, a journalistic dilemma could arise: what if campaign strategists bombarded The Post with fake tweets, attempting to show that one candidate was kicking ass. And what if this influenced the outcome of the caucuses in real time? It would be like releasing exit polls or election results on the East Coast before the polls were closed in the West. Some serious journalists stopped releasing exit polls becuase they didn’t want to influence elections. A wholly theoretical problem for The Post’s caucus project, of course, but a thought, nonetheless.



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