Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

More Online Politics: Newspapers and Databases

I’m always on the lookout for different ways to keep track of the political realm. It is an area that is very hard to cover well, concentrating on the issues without getting caught up in the “who has more money.” I believe it is an area that newspaper have so far failed to cover well. So I turn to the Internet.

The Washington Post has a Campaign Tracker, which lists and maps the campaign events of the 2008 presidential candidates. For each candidate, it lists the state and city with the most events, as well as the top state for fund raising. You can see the results by candidate, date and state, and there’s also an RSS feed. This is a nice start, but its focusing on the least important aspects of the campaigns. I’d like to see the issues candidates represent, whether or not they are being consistent, what groups are they getting support from, and links to every article in which they are mentioned.

EDIT: Derek Willis of the Post pointed out that I totally missed the candidate profiles, finance filings, and primary information linked to the Campaign Tracker.

WashingtonWatch reveals the costs behind proposed U.S. federal legislation and regulation. The site also asks for comments, allows responses to a poll and allows Bill summaries to be edited. The cost of a bill is broken down into “cost per family” which makes it easier to digest. Just looking at some of those costs makes me wince.

I may just be getting cool enough for people to send me press releases, cause I got this in my inbox the other day from the Congresspedia Associate Managing Editor:

  • Get an early look at Congresspedia’s new legislative section

  • What’s McConnell Hiding?’ Win $500 for getting Sen. McConnell to answer on the record

  • LOUIS—a new database of documents from the Congressional Record, congressional bills and resolutions, congressional reports, congressional hearings, GAO reports, presidential papers and the Federal Register.

  • federal money & politics search engine launched (so far only California and U.S. Congress)

  • Open House Project delivers recommendations to increase transparency on Capitol Hill

I really like some of these ideas: pinning politicians down, easy search of Congressional documents, following paper trails and shining a light on Capitol Hill are all great things to put out there. And not necessarily things I expect from my newspaper.