August reporting powered by Sunlight’s tools and analysis

Sunlight City Labs chart
A Sunlight Foundation dataviz that was used in a CityLab story on criminal justice reform.

Sunlight prides itself on being a go-to resource for reporters and assisting journalists is central to our mission. If you’re working on a story, see if our tools can help and feel free to get in touch. During the month of August, journalists utilized tools and data from Sunlight to inform their reporting; listed below are some examples of how we collaborated with reporters and drove news coverage around transparency.

These 8 Cities Are About To Become Better Places To Live” was the headline from a Huffington Post piece that discussed the announcement of the first eight cities in the What Works Cities program, which is designed to help city governments use data and evidence efficiently to deliver better results for their residents. What Works Cities is a joint project between Bloomberg Philanthropies; Sunlight Foundation; Results for America; the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University; the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School; and The Behavioral Insights Team. Learn more about our work here.

The Wall-Street Journal used our tools to help research political donations by attorney Keila Ravelo, who is currently under federal investigation for theft and leaking confidential anti-trust information.

As debate heated up around President Obama’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran, Reuters and NPR cited data from our Political Ad Sleuth tool to track spending and placement of television ads by AIPAC and similar groups looking to influence the outcome of the vote in Congress.

The Atlantic’s CityLab project worked with Sunlight on a story documenting the number of “stop and frisks” and obstacles to reform, including the need for more open data.

There are political pressures too, of course, that data cannot overcome on their own. Some departments won’t change unless overwhelming legal or political pressure is applied. The Los Angeles Police Department, according to the Sunlight Foundation, had been required to produce data on stops thanks to a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice—and then stopped doing so once it expired. The same thing happened with Metropolitan Police Department use of force data in Washington, D.C.

The Huffington Post used our Fixed Fortunes tool to track how donors to the pro-Jeb Bush super PAC “Right to Rise” are also big recipients of government contracts.

As part of Sunlight’s ongoing effort to monitor transparency at the state level, on August 12, Sunlight published a report grading lobbying disclosure on the state level. The report earned press coverage in local newspapers and blogs across the country, including Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon and South Carolina.

Finally, reporters extensively covered the impact of Twitter’s recent decision to shut down API access to Politwoops, the Sunlight tool that tracks deleted tweets from politicians (BuzzFeed, Guardian, The Verge).