Newsletter: Issue VI

Aug. 11, 2020

Election 2020 Tools

The Democratic National Convention starts next Monday and the Republican convention launches the following week. As we head into the homestretch of one of the most bizarre election years in history, let’s look at a few tools to help make your stories better.

  • Working with Federal Election Commission campaign finance data can be cumbersome. But ProPublica’s Derek Willis and Sisi Wei have built the FEC Itemizer to make it easier. It allows you to browse electronic campaign finance filings from the FEC and to see individual contributions and expenditures reported by committees raising money for federal elections.

  • The National Council on Public Polls offers this must-read for anyone writing about election polls: 20 Questions a Journalist Should Ask About Poll Results.

  • This Columbia Journalism Review wrote about how the Tow Center has tracked and mapped more than 450 “pink slime” disinformation sites — disguised as local news sites — that have tripled in size as the election approaches.

  • And in case you need them, you also can dig into Trump’s Twitter archive.

Our Election 2020 page has dozens of other tools, and we offer training videos to find, analyze and visualize election data. View the full playlist or launch the first video below.

Around the Web …

I’ve been spending some time with this Nieman Lab post about hyperpartisan sites masquerading as local news websites. Nieman has mapped more than 400 partisan outlets, and it pretty much covers the entire US.

This is a great thing to share with reporters, students and others anytime, but especially heading into the election season. Not sure who owns/operates a site? We have plenty of tools on the Check Domain Names page in the Trust and Verification vertical.

  • Learn some stuff: We’ve added seven new training videos to our YouTube channel, including productivity tools, Google Flourish, Datawrapper charts, Venngage infographics, fact-checking photos and videos, and more.

  • Learn some more stuff: The New York Times has posted its spreadsheet training resources for free. Worth a download, especially if you teach. Also: IRE features a great web page of TV Watchdog Resources.

  • Listen up: offers a great list of journalism podcasts to get you through the pandemic.

Covering COVID-19

We’ve built a playlist of training videos for finding and visualizing COVID-19 data. You can view the full list, or just play the first video below and the others will follow.

In Quotes …

“Journalism, to me, is just another drug — a free ride to scenes I’d probably miss if I stayed straight.”
— Hunter S. Thompson


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