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Citizen journalists make new inroads into political reporting

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"You can take the cynical view that citizen journalism is a buzzword now, or the sincere view that [the mainstream press] thinks this will illuminate what's going on and get closer to the real world," says Dan Gillmor, director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University in Phoenix. "Or it's something in-between, which is most likely: some showmanship and some curiosity about trying new things."

The 100-plus citizen journalists who submitted video clips for MSNBC.com's contest certainly tried new things.

"I can play hardball with Chris Matthews / Outfox Fox News / Countdown with Keith till the moment the people choose," rapped one Harvard Law School graduate in his video.

Another contestant listed his credentials: "The role of citizen convention journalist is not really conventional at all, nor is it really even a journalist, so you really just have to be a citizen. And I checked. This guy is, like, totally a citizen," he says, flashing his own passport.

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