Introducing Sunlight Live
As the Open Government Directive was announced in a live webcast back in December, Sunlight tried something a little different by covering the event live in a variety of formats at once.
As is a norm around here, we basically just got a lot of people in a room, tried a bunch of stuff and paid attention to what seemed to work. At the end of the announcement we simultaneously had a tweet stream from across the open government community going, a live blog, and a Google Wave. We threw the obligatory word cloud at it, sent email blasts, and followed up with blog posts about the Directive’s many components.
It was fun and seemed to be pretty effective. And it also got us thinking…
What if we were able to “cover” live events in a new way using government data that we’re able to compile and connect it to political events and personas of the day?
Today we’re going to take this idea to the next step by beginning to connect government data such as campaign contributions or lobbyist meetings to a political event in real-time. As Republican and Democratic leaders come together to debate health care in a public forum, Sunlight is going to provide an alternative to the mainstream media’s coverage. In a replicable pilot we are calling Sunlight Live, our team will connect data such as the aforementioned lobbying contributions or “revolving door”connections the meeting’s participants may have, and put them right next to the video feed, as any particular politician is speaking.
We think Sunlight can offer a unique live perspective on the debate in the midst of the media frenzy, by focusing not on the merits of health care reform, but on the money, connections, and influence data to which we have created access. In addition to displaying data from Sunlight and its grantees’ projects, our staff will once again be live blogging, facilitating online conversation via Twitter, and engaging the open government community in research as the debate unfolds. We don’t yet know exactly what we’ll need or what will work best …but that’s the point.
We’ll be getting things started at 10am with the beginning of the meeting. Hope you’ll join us!