I’m thrilled to announce that the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation just announced a new $1.2 million two-year grant to us to support Sunlight in our nascent “National Data Apps” initiative that allows us to give you access to more government data that affects you in your daily life. The funding also allows us to further expand our award-winning Sunlight Live real-time accountability platform that combines streaming video, government transparency data, journalistic background and social media coverage of major events in Washington. (Be sure to tune in on Election night, when we’ll cover the results of this year’s mid-term elections.)
Because of Knight’s support, we will put more government information at your fingertips to help you make better sense of anything from local pollution and medical care to personal financial services. The new National Data Apps — that will roll out over the next two years — will give you unprecedented access to critical information that will bring us a step closer to closing the transparency gap in Washington. Imagine being able to check the reputation, pricing and accountability of a medical service provider from your phone -– before you decide to use them.
Our Sunlight Labs will design — along with our Reporting Group — the National Data Apps and issue reports on the government’s track record for making this kind of data available to the public. Additionally, the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group will train journalists, bloggers and other members of the media on how to use the National Data Apps when they are launched in early-2011. (Use the comments below to let us know if you’re interested in this kind of training, or send us an email.)
Knight’s previous funding of Sunlight has supported our creation of Poligraft, Influence Explorer and our free embeddable Politiwidgets about members of Congress that you’ve seen used in our blog posts and on some of your hometown newspapers’ websites.
We are so proud to be supported by the Knight Foundation. We can’t wait to unveil the new National Data Apps beginning early next year.