Weekly Media Roundup – April 17, 2009


media_4_17_09 Here are a few of the more interesting media mentions of Sunlight and our friends and grantees from this week:

Various media outlets and bloggers, including the likes of CNET.com, the Associated Press, the National Journal, Lawrence Lessig and Craig Newmark, have covered and congratulated the Center for Responsive Politics’ (CRP) for making its data records from OpenSecrets.org free for anyone to download. The Journal’s “Tech Daily Dose” column reported that more than 120 people had downloaded bulk data within the first 24 hours of CRP opening up its archives.

The Washington Post’s “The Reliable Source” column highlighted Capitol Words, which “slices and dices the entirety of the Congressional Record for your searching pleasure,” they write. McClatchy‘s David Lightman reported that, in light of the financial crisis, words you would expect to be used by congressional lawmakers often, such as recession, bailout, stimulus and deficit do not crack the top 30 most frequently uttered terms so far this year. And Daphne Ritter with the New York Post looks at the top words used by several lawmakers from the Empire State’s congressional delegation.

Alice Lipowicz with Federal Computer Week used OpenCongress data in writing about how only 10 congressional lawmakers (four senators and six reps) post their daily schedules on their official Web sites. New York Newsday editorialized about how Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) is blazing a trail in her congressional career by posting her schedule and personal financial disclosure reports online. “While (congressional lawmakers are) at it, they should make sure that information is easy to locate, archived and searchable, so that watchful voters can track, over time, the lobbyists and interest groups bending an official’s ear,” the editors wrote.

Last week, Ryan Singel at Wired’s “Epicenter” blog wrote about Sunlight Labs‘ contest Apps for America, and asked his readers to vote for their favorites. This week, he reported back on the response he received, and issued what he terms the “Epicenter Reader’s Choice award.”

Speaking of Sunlight Labs, both Craig Newmark on his blog and Andrew Pratt at Science Progress praised the Labs’ pre-design for the yet-to-be-launched Data.gov, the site that new White House CIO Vivek Kundra has promised will be an easy-to-use central repository of federal bulk data. “This is precisely the kind of work I’ve argued that the nonprofit and advocacy sphere needs to be engaged in right now,” Pratt wrote.

The San Francisco Examiner editorialized about how Congress should exercise its oversight authority and find out where every last federal bailout dollar has been spent. The Examiner gives props to Anu Narayanswamy‘s Real Time Investigations expose’ of the identity of senior U.S. Treasury officials who are also members of the Troubled Assets Relief Program‘s Investment Committee — a small group that makes big decisions about which banks receive how much of our money.

The Washington Independent‘s Elana Schor reports on an analysis they conducted of House and Senate fundraising during the current election cycle compared to the previous cycles. Despite the economic downturn, their analysis showed significant upticks in campaign giving. Schor quotes Bill Allison, Sunlight’s senior fellow, “For the average citizen, the election is over and they’re not even going to think about it for the next four years.” But the donors “who are paying close attention,” have a vested interest in what Congress does — or does not — pass into law this year.

Thanks, and see you next week!