December reporting powered by Sunlight tools and data

538 used our Capitol Words tool to compare how lawmakers talk about debt and deficit issues.

The use of Sunlight’s data has played a positive role in assisting journalists with their reporting throughout 2015. December was no exception, as Sunlight’s tools were used in stories that ranged from campaign finance in 2016, to Twitter holding elected officials accountable through relaunching Politwoops, to tracking TV ad buys in early primary states.

First thing’s first: Politwoops, a tool which tracks the deleted tweets of politicians, is slated to return! In a very exciting announcement, Twitter will be working with Sunlight and our partners at the Open State Foundation to bring the popular accountability tool back online. And speaking of Politwoops, WBEZ’s Serial, noted how Politwoops was able to catch politicians delete their tweets after more details became available surrounding the Bowe Begdahl story.

Political Party Time continued to be a go-to source for reporters writing about the ever expanding world of political fundraising parties. Jonathan Swan at The Hill used Party Time data to detail how Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and other presidential contenders were going to smaller cities and states to raise campaign cash. The Washington Times also cited Party Time invites for Hillary Clinton that included details of fundraisers with the likes of Garrison Keillor and Sting.

The Los Angeles Times used Political Ad Sleuth to help verify and track the total number of advertising dollars spent in Bernie Sanders’ first TV ad buy in Nevada.  

Our Capitol Words tool was used by The Washington Post to analyze how Congress discusses issues around gun violence, and the The Christian Science Monitor used the tool to take a look how often members of Congress use the term “feckless.”  

Sunlight’s Real-Time Influence Explorer was utilized by The Washington Post to track Right to Rise (Jeb Bush’s supportive super PAC) and the Las Vegas Review Journal to track the political donations of the newspaper’s new owner Sheldon Adelson.

Sunlight has partnered with MuckRock to create a database around how local court systems and police departments levy fees and charges onto constituents. Explore the project here. (Because this effort is crowdfunded, we need your help to make it happen. Our goal is to raise $5,000, which would let us file requests to agencies in the hundred largest cities in the United States. Chip in if you can, and thanks!)

Also, Texas Monthly used our Real-Time Lobbyist tracker on a story about how an events company is lobbying the National Park Service in order to hold concerts on park lands.  

As always, if you’re working on an article of any kind, see if our tools can help, and feel free to get in touch.