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JA Resource Q&A: “See the documents that support fact-checks”

December 5, 2012 in Blog, Craft

EconocheckInvestigative Reporters and Editors teamed up with the Sunlight Foundation to create a guide to key national economic databases as a tool to fact-check political claims. Designed for journalists on deadline, useful and accessible to interested citizens, EconoCheck hopes to expand this service built initially for the 2012 election.

Journalism Accelerator

EconoCheck is a collection of economic data covering major issues frequently in the news. It’s designed to give reporters a quick way to understand the context of the data and a direct link to the datasets themselves.

EconoCheck was built with a simple premise: It can be challenging to verify economic claims. So the Sunlight Foundation teamed up with Investigative Reporters and Editors to offer direct links and helpful context to extract accurate information from key national economic datasets.

Data expert and journo prof David Herzog collaborated with Sunlight and IRE to launch EconoCheck for the 2012 election.

In the latest JA Resource Q&A, we talked with Herzog about how to report data effectively and how this tool can be useful outside the immediate demands of an election cycle. Read the rest of this entry →

EconoCheck

October 11, 2012 in Community, Craft, Resources

Economic issues have taken center stage in this year’s elections, as the United States continues to stagger from the effects of recession and the 2008 global banking crisis. Candidates for federal, state and local offices are looking to tap into voter discontent about issues like unemployment, home foreclosures and the government spending.

It can be tough for journalists to make sense out of candidates’ claims. So the Sunlight Foundation and Investigative Reporters and Editors have teamed up to offer this guide to some of the most authoritative economic data sets. We’ll provide an explanation of what the indicators really mean, their weaknesses and how they are created. Also, we’ll point you to the data and documentation so you can explore for yourself.

We trust these resources will help you better cover the key issues of this election.” Source: EconoCheck

A Guide to Effective Fact Checking On-air and Online

October 11, 2012 in Craft, Resources

Drawing on Annenberg Public Policy Center research conducted over a period of more than 20 years, this FlackCheck.org video “Guide to Fact Checking On-Air and Online” shows how to minimize the power of the political ads aired in news reports and increase the effectiveness of ad watches.” Source: FlackCheck.org

Headquartered at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, FlackCheck.org is a video-based counterpart to APPC’s award-winning program FactCheck.org. FlackCheck.org uses parody and humor to debunk false political advertising, poke fun at extreme language, and hold the media accountable for their reporting on political campaigns.” Source: FlackCheck.org: About Us

Conversations for impact: New ethical considerations for political coverage

October 10, 2012 in Blog, Craft

Doug Oplinger presenting at KSU

Akron Beacon Journal managing editor Doug Oplinger says journalists let “too many politicians… shove their own agendas down the pipe.” Credit: Kent State University

Journalism Accelerator

Getting somewhere new. That’s what the four online JA conversations building on the 2012 Poynter/Kent State media ethics workshop are designed to do. Tap into the wisdom of people experienced in ethics, political coverage or both; hear the questions of those fresh to the field; create, informed by these conversations, a crowdsourced best practices guide to political coverage exploring approaches and challenges across the field.

Kent State University journalism professor Jan Leach will lead the creation of that guide in early 2013. Meanwhile, the conversation threads stay open for your input. Outlined below are a number of places where we welcome you to participate! This post highlights key points from discussions on fact-checking and changing the approach to reporting. An earlier distillation covers conversations on managing “access journalism” and the challenges of social media in political coverage. Read the rest of this entry →

Ten hot ethical challenges facing political reporting in 2012

September 28, 2012 in Blog, Craft

Gregory Korte

USA Today reporter Gregory Korte tells the crowd at the 2012 Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop why he sometimes agrees to quote approval. Credit: Kent State University

Journalism Accelerator

“The values of journalism are under pressure.” With that remark, Kelly McBride of The Poynter Institute set the stage for “Dirty Politics,” the 2012 ethics workshop at Kent State University.

Here are ten hot ethical challenges in political coverage that emerged from the workshop. Join in the series of online conversations exploring ways to handle them. Bring your questions! Bring your experience! Help uncover ethical issues in political coverage that require clarity to provide the accurate reporting people deserve to inform their vote. Read the rest of this entry →

Political coverage: Responsive and responsible? Help inform a best practices guide

September 24, 2012 in Blog, Craft

Red State, Blue State Map

Ethics of images? In the 2000 election, The New York Times created one of the first “red state, blue state” maps. This simple data presentation “changed the way we thought about politics,” Poynter’s Kelly McBride told the crowd at the 2012 Poynter Kent State Media Ethics workshop.

Journalism Accelerator

What are the ethical considerations you apply to your reporting in a high-stakes, fast-paced election when:

  • truth is deliberately subject to distortion or lies
  • money is increasingly influential yet harder to track
  • insults distract from the issues
  • people who will be directly affected by the actions of those elected feel disconnected from the process
  • the public largely blames the media as part of the problem

Don’t struggle with these questions alone, or debate them isolated in your own newsroom! Join a larger community of peers, together with the Journalism Accelerator, the Kent State School of Journalism, Poynter and The Civic Commons to gather examples and explore ideas from the 2012 election to inform a new Ethics Best Practices Guide to Political Coverage. Be a part of it and join us! Read the rest of this entry →

Politifact’s Truth-O-Meter

August 24, 2012 in Craft, Resources

PolitiFact is a project of the Tampa Bay Times and its partners to help you find the truth in politics.

Every day, reporters and researchers from PolitiFact and its partner news organization examine statements by members of Congress, state legislators, governors, mayors, the president, cabinet secretaries, lobbyists, people who testify before Congress and anyone else who speaks up in American politics. We research their statements and then rate the accuracy on our Truth-O-Meter – True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False and False. The most ridiculous falsehoods get our lowest rating, Pants on Fire…

How the Truth-O-Meter works

The heart of PolitiFact is the Truth-O-Meter, which we use to rate factual claims.

The Truth-O-Meter is based on the concept that – especially in politics – truth is not black and white.
PolitiFact writers and editors spend considerable time researching and deliberating on our rulings. We always try to get the original statement in its full context rather than an edited form that appeared in news stories. We then divide the statement into individual claims that we check separately.

When possible, we go to original sources to verify the claims. We look for original government reports rather than news stories. We interview impartial experts.” Source: PolitiFact

You can now embed part of PolitiFact into your website. Our widgets will put the latest Truth-O-Meter and Obameter rulings on your page. They flex to fit just about any width hole you want them in. Best of all, they update dynamically, so they always contain the latest rulings.” Source: PolitiFact

Cartoon Movement

July 13, 2012 in Community, Distribution, Experiments, Resources, Revenue

For the community

We offer a platform where you can discuss cartoons, and vote on the cartoon ideas submitted by our international network of professional editorial cartoonists. The best cartoons are published online 4 times a week.

For political cartooning and political cartoonists

We think that it’s prudent to assume that the future of cartooning is probably online. We hope that with this platform we’ll not only be able to continue paying a just fee for your work, but together we can also find new revenue models which will ensure that editorial cartooning can be financially sustainable in the digital age.

We hope to foster an environment of mutual promotion, revenue, and fair use for the work of political cartoonists. All of our members are accomplished freelancers and there’s no application fee to join….

For editors and media professionals

Together with our constantly growing network of political cartoonists, we offer a unique and lovingly curated collection of international political cartoons. In addition to granting publishing/syndication rights for this collection, we also commission ‘on demand’ editorial cartoons for a global list of clients. Our terms are deliberately flexible to accommodate your editorial needs.” Source: Cartoon Movement

The Sunlight Foundation

December 5, 2011 in Experiments, Resources, Technology

In April 2006, the Sunlight Foundation formally opened its doors. Unlike other non-profit institutions based in Washington, DC, Sunlight sought, much like a tech start-up, to take an experimental approach to achieving its goals of making government data more available and accessible. Rather than focusing exclusively on policy work aimed at Washington insiders or grassroots engagement efforts aimed at ordinary Americans, Sunlight focused on three key priorities: digitizing data, building tools and the sites for easy access to it, and developing communities to support and help carry on its work. 

Sunlight’s main policy priority is to establish within government an a priori assumption that all public information should be made available online, in as close to real-time as possible…

Perhaps most importantly, at our core, Sunlight recognizes that no number of staff at Sunlight or organizations we fund will be able to accomplish the task of making government transparent and accountable alone. Consequently, Sunlight seeks, at every opportunity, to engage concerned citizens in the work of making Washington more transparent, accessible and accountable.” Source: Sunlight Foundation

OpenSecrets.org

October 17, 2011 in Craft, Policy, Resources

OpenSecrets.org is the nation’s premier website tracking the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens’ lives.

The Center for Responsive Politics launched the website following the 1996 elections. Before that time, the Center, founded in 1983 by U.S. Sens. Frank Church (D-Idaho) and Hugh Scott (R-Pa.), published its work tracking money in politics and its effect on elections and public policy in extensive reports and books. The first Open Secrets book, published in 1990, was a massive 1,300 pages and analyzed contributions by political action committees in the 1988 congressional elections. Featuring contributor profiles for every member of Congress, it was an unprecedented resource that illuminated money’s role in congressional elections and policymaking. Open Secrets also profiled the spending patterns of interest groups and major industries, and included an extensive “Big Picture” section on the patterns of PAC spending and the flow of PAC dollars to each congressional committee. The second edition of Open Secrets, published in 1992, added an analysis of large individual donations — a mammoth task that had never before been attempted.

The OpenSecrets.org website not only allowed the Center to expand its reach beyond those willing to invest in its voluminous and expensive publication, but also greatly accelerated the timing and depth of its analysis, making the Center’s research more readily available to those making decisions about candidates, policy and the influence of money. For the 1998 elections, the Center produced online contribution profiles for every federal candidate well before Election Day. For the 2000 elections, the Center unveiled several new groundbreaking features on OpenSecrets.org, including detailed contribution profiles of more than 100 industries and special interest areas, fund-raising breakdowns for federal party committees and analyses of contributions from special interests to members of specific congressional committees.

Today, the Center has expanded the information it analyzes beyond just the Federal Election Commission’s offerings on campaign finance. OpenSecrets.org has become a clearinghouse for data and analysis on multiple aspects of money in politics — the independent interest groups flooding politics with outside spendingfederal lobbying, Washington’s “revolving door”federal earmarks and the personal finances of members of Congress, the president and other officials.” Source: Opensecrets.org