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Reuters is expanding its mobile journalism initiative to cover the US political conventions taking place over the next week.

Sanyo HD video cameras and Flip Mino cameras are being given to more than 40 people attending, or associated with, the Democrat convention in Denver, Colorado, and the Republican convention in St Paul, Minnesota.

Participants, which include Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and presidential campaign volunteers, will produce short videos for

These clips will also be distributed through YouTube and Off the Bus, the citizen journalism arm of The Huffington Post.

"The idea behind this project was to capture the conventions from the ground up. There are some 15,000 journalists in Denver and St Paul, but we can't be everywhere, and our delegates and other contributors are able to capture the proceedings from their own unique perspectives," Adam Pasick, US editor for, told

The scheme aims to 'capture some untraditional voices' at the event, he added, using items such as a video from a Denver pedicab driver.

Editing of the footage is kept to an 'absolute minimum' with some clips broken up into shorter sections to keep each one within three minutes, Pasick said.

Videos broadcast so far include an interview with Barack Obama supporter Kristine Fallstone, whose son was killed in an army training exercise after he spent a year in Iraq; and an interview with Dilia Schack, a Hillary Clinton delegate for New York.

The coverage is the latest development in Reuters' mobile journalism scheme, which has seen journalists from the organisation equipped with Nokia mobile kits for on-the-fly reporting.

The Nokia equipment is still in use by Reuters, and was used for mobile reports from the Beijing Olympics, but a lack of WiFi and 3G connections at the convention centres prompted the group to test out alternative video devices, Pasick said.

"The use of the Flips has been going very well, and we've found that they provide excellent quality for the Web at a low price (about $140). The Sanyos have also been great. They cost a bit more, around $600, and can provide HD quality video and support external mics, which is useful for our television clients," he added.

At the World Editors Forum in June, Ilicco Elia, Reuters' mobile product manager, told that the news provider was planning to expand its use of 'citizen experts' for mobile reporting.

Earlier this year the news group equipped delegates at the World Economics Forum in Davos with the Nokia handsets to produce video content.

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