My friend Amanda Michel.
1. She had an excellent piece out today in Columbia Journalism Review (my old stomping ground) on her experience with Off The Bus.
I helped in only the most modest of ways at Off The Bus. Amanda Michel is, without a doubt, the unsung hero of the project. Without her - it would have been toast.
I think this is a brilliant move. At ProPublica Amanda can do some real damage (in a good way). The organization is ready to try something new and daring, she will have the editorial support and most importantly: ProPublica has a community of readers that are just itching (I suspect) to get their hands dirty with Amanda and practice distributed reporting.
I've worked with Amanda on past NewAssignment.Net projects and I know she will rock this position. Keep your eye on ProPublica to do some interesting pro-am work.