Election '08: Cyber-Watchdogs

April 25, 2008

Clinton Cash

Clinton Cash, Campaign Money

Sitting here listening to Margot Williams talk about how she and other reporters have tracked the Clintons’ finances brings to mind the recent reports about the couples’ tax filing.  No matter how the media might attempt to detail just how much money the Clintons make, how they get it and the way they are spending it, questions always remain.  This is due in part, I think, to the Clintons’ shrewd maneuvering of their financial records.  But it’s also due to the limited amount of information available to the public, even when one does know all the ins and outs of the kind of web stalking we’ve been learning about in the seminar.  This information, however, is important.  And now especially.  Clinton has taken the role of the underdog, repeatedly referring to Obama’s more abundant campaign funds but one continues to wonder, is her campaign really in as much financial trouble as she is claiming?   

April 25, 2008

Citizen Journalism

Citizen Journalism and the Issue of Transparency

Citizen journalism is what the future is all about. Yet the question remains: how do we know if what we get is legitimate? The Huffington Post’s Off the Bus project directed by Marc Cooper is trying to break out of the illegitimacy mold. The simple purpose of the project is to cover politics in the digital age. And that’s no easy task. “What we are finding is that we can do journalism with crowd sourcing,” said Cooper. The Post distributed research among crowds of users in ‘loosely defined communities,’ in an efforts to get to the real people. Old rules are broken in this new era of online journalism. In essence, everyone can be a journalist, but, as Cooper points out, the importance of having bodies on the ground transcends the slightly anxious task of editing self-defined citizen reports. Heated discussions ensue on the point of the traditional values of journalism. Are the strict guidelines and standard structure of current mainstream journalism hurting the core of reporting?
The Post prides itself with an understated notion of transparency as opposed to the claim of solid and inalienable truth. What is, then, the level of transparency? Open bias? 

April 24, 2008

Follow the seminar on Twitter

Follow the seminar using Russ Walker’s comments on the social messaging tool, Twitter.

  • 4/24/2008 11:04: Online in a room full of journalists who are all online. What's next?
  • 4/24/2008 11:09: Our first speaker: http://tinyurl.com/5rngnz
  • 4/24/2008 11:11: Hilarious: http://www.congressionalbad...
  • 4/24/2008 11:22: 2nd Speaker: Karen Jagoda. http://evoterinstitute.com/...
  • 4/24/2008 11:30: Jagoda: In 2008, most voters have access to the Internet.
  • 4/24/2008 11:36: Jagoda: Not all online activists are actually qualified/able to vote.
  • 4/24/2008 11:45: Jagoda: campaign pros are not taking advantage of the Web or adjusting to the changes in the media landscape.
  • 4/24/2008 11:48: 3rd speaker: Colin Delaney, http://tinyurl.com/6b5k24
  • 4/24/2008 12:00: Delaney recommends: http://blog.wired.com/27bst...
  • 4/24/2008 12:02: 4th speaker: Morra Aarons-Mele, http://womenandwork.org/abo...
  • 4/24/2008 12:08: Aarons-Mele: too early to tell if candidates' use of Internet pays off on mobilization side of things.
  • 4/24/2008 12:11: A state-level blog to watch: http://www.calitics.com/
  • 4/24/2008 12:22: Dennis Johnson doing study of presidential campaign emails. Planning to do a paper on it. Has collected database of 7000 messages.
  • 4/24/2008 12:33: Pamela Gentry from BET says Obama is so good online b/c he was forced to hire unknown consultants -- b/c edwards and hrc had hired the pros
  • 4/24/2008 12:48: Next speaker is matthew Waite of PolitiFact. Then there's NYT's Pilhofer, the man who stole Derek Willis from us. Argh!
  • 4/24/2008 12:55: Aron Pilhofer's blog: http://www.frozenhellscape....
  • 4/24/2008 12:58: Pilhofer says we didn't make our HRC schedule docs searchable. We did, I say. He notes we were a day behind him. I slink off...
  • 4/24/2008 13:01: Bart vs. Lisa Web users. Barts are drive-by surfers. Lisas are loyal, spending more time on site.
  • 4/24/2008 13:10: NYT is partnering with manyeyes: http://blog.many-eyes.com/
  • 4/24/2008 13:15: CBC created discussion groups for all 300 parliamentary districts for the 2006 national election.
  • 4/24/2008 13:20: Aron says there are 25 positions at NYT.com for moderating user comments. Mostly part-timers working from home. wow
  • 4/24/2008 13:21: Aron: "Within the next few months, we are going to be API-izing our site."
  • 4/24/2008 13:26: Aron: "At the Times, the engine for innovation is on the newspaper side, not the Web side."
  • 4/24/2008 13:31: Matt Waite talking now about how PolitiFact got started.
  • 4/24/2008 13:36: What's did Matt say about "jango"? It's this: http://www.djangobook.com/, which was invented by him: http://www.holovaty.com/
  • 4/24/2008 13:37: Aron Pilhofer is a Ruby man: http://www.rubyonrails.org/
  • 4/24/2008 13:40: Waite on crowdsourcing local politics: Google Docs as source collector; Twine as 'meme watcher'; and Twitter (love/hate).
  • 4/24/2008 13:41: Waite: St. Pete Times will Twitter the NFL draft.
  • 4/24/2008 13:50: Matt Waite just showed us a very cool Google Docs app that allows you to quickly create a form for gathering info. from other Web users.
  • 4/24/2008 15:50: 1st afternoon speaker: Larry Makinson, one of the Founding Fathers of tracking money in politics.
  • 4/24/2008 15:51: 203 members of congress have leadership PACs!
  • 4/24/2008 15:57: opensecrets.org Web site to be relaunched next month.
  • 4/24/2008 16:21: Bill Allison from Sunlight is up next: http://www.sunlightfoundati...
  • 4/24/2008 16:24: Wow. Allison shows slide tracking donations from Verizon employees to Sen. Rockefeller -- FISA debate was driver.
  • 4/24/2008 16:38: One of The Post's pieces on tariff suspensions: http://tinyurl.com/5wse8p
  • 4/24/2008 16:39: Sign up for an account at http://www.opencongress.org
  • 4/24/2008 16:43: Paul Singer from Roll Call is up now. Hey Paul, how about free subscriptions to rollcall.com! wink
  • 4/24/2008 16:46: The Lobbying Disclosure Database on senate.gov: http://tinyurl.com/6olawj
  • 4/24/2008 16:51: Taxpayers for Common Sense: http://www.taxpayer.net/
  • 4/24/2008 17:22: Tooting The Post's own horn here -- an earmarks story http://tinyurl.com/5tzl52
  • 4/24/2008 17:36: Sarah Cohen is up next, one washingtonpost.com's good friends in the newsroom.
  • 4/24/2008 17:37: One of Sarah's stories: http://tinyurl.com/2jhyey
  • 4/24/2008 17:43: The very cool USA Today project on Capitol Hill properties: http://tinyurl.com/2lduqb
  • 4/24/2008 18:15: A link to the map in Sarah's presentation: http://tinyurl.com/57ohj8
  • 4/24/2008 18:22: Here's the Spheres of Influence graphic: http://tinyurl.com/yu6tr
  • 4/24/2008 18:26: The whole 2004 Bush Money Machine package: http://tinyurl.com/6o3cjg
  • 4/24/2008 18:38: Here's the FARA site: http://www.justice.gov/crim...
  • 4/24/2008 18:43: Who's on Del.icio.us? http://del.icio.us/rhwalker22
  • 4/25/2008 1:18: Saw Sharon Stone in a restaurant tonight! Yes, I'm one of THOSE easily-impressed-by-celebrity types... . Oh, and the new Spock was there too
  • 4/25/2008 9:33: washingtonpost.com's experiment with Twitter: twitter.com/postpolitics
  • 4/25/2008 10:59: Day 2 begins. Margot Williams of the NYT.
  • 4/25/2008 11:00: Margot's work on NYT: http://tinyurl.com/6mg9z9
  • 4/25/2008 11:05: Library of Congress's Web Capture program: http://www.loc.gov/webcaptu...
  • 4/25/2008 11:09: ZoomInfo provides free subscriptions to journalists.
  • 4/25/2008 11:12: Contact info. for ZoomInfo is here (over on right side of page): http://www.zoominfo.com/Abo...
  • 4/25/2008 11:15: Here is post.com's congress votes db (goes back to 1991, 102nd congress): http://projects.washingtonp...
  • 4/25/2008 11:32: Here's The Posts's project on Bill Clinton speeches: http://tinyurl.com/2guzgm
  • 4/25/2008 11:41: Federal Audit Clearinghouse: http://harvester.census.gov...
  • 4/25/2008 11:45: Next up: Marc Cooper of HuffPost/USC Annenberg
  • 4/25/2008 11:47: About Marc Cooper: http://marccooper.com/about...
  • 4/25/2008 12:18: HuffPost's Super Delegates project: http://tinyurl.com/2kofkm
  • 4/25/2008 12:20: @WPLauraCochran marc cooper and amanda michel from huffpost -- great presentation on citizen journalism
  • 4/25/2008 12:27: Here is Jay Rosen's piece: http://tinyurl.com/5oma7s
  • 4/25/2008 12:28: Jarvis's take on the debate: http://tinyurl.com/68mp8b
  • 4/25/2008 12:47: A link from Eugene Kiely of USA Today: http://tinyurl.com/5k6r9d
  • 4/25/2008 12:47: That link is usatoday.com's Electoral College interactive
  • 4/25/2008 12:50: Here's a recent Jay Rosen piece on objectivity: http://tinyurl.com/33z6wp
  • 4/25/2008 13:04: Here's is Matt's bookmarks on Del.icio.us: http://del.icio.us/mdwaite
  • 4/25/2008 13:04: Next speaker: Matthew Waite of St. Pete Times/PolitiFact
  • 4/25/2008 13:05: And here's his personal site: http://www.mattwaite.com/
  • 4/25/2008 13:08: HRC travel schedules, on the Post: http://tinyurl.com/3a7mf6
  • 4/25/2008 13:09: On NYT.com: http://tinyurl.com/6xl4ls
  • 4/25/2008 13:10: and here's the page Matt is showing us: http://www.politifact.com/m...
  • 4/25/2008 13:24: St. Pete Times's wetlands project: http://sptimes.com/2006/web...
  • 4/25/2008 13:28: Apture: http://www.apture.com/
  • 4/25/2008 13:30: Next up is Dan Newman of MapLight.org
  • 4/25/2008 13:36: MapLight's widget page: http://www.maplight.org/wid...
  • 4/25/2008 13:42: Here's the maplight API page: http://www.maplight.org/wid...
  • 4/25/2008 13:44: post.com's prez fundraising section: http://tinyurl.com/2m4onq
  • 4/25/2008 13:46: NYT's campaign finance search: http://tinyurl.com/6382l8
  • 4/25/2008 14:12: send your maplight email address to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • 4/25/2008 14:24: Here's the post.com widgets collection: http://tinyurl.com/6o7v93
  • 4/25/2008 16:30: The group is split up into smaller sections to work on our projects.
  • 4/25/2008 18:20: Just accused by NPR reporter of shameless promotion of post.com on this Twitter feed.
  • 4/25/2008 18:21: Look at NPR's cool primary/caucus map: http://tinyurl.com/22zwlz/p...
  • 4/25/2008 18:22: And here's NPR's "Secret Money" project: http://tinyurl.com/6yek7x
  • 4/26/2008 11:23: Good newspaper video essay by Mindy McAdams: http://tinyurl.com/49d5p8
  • 4/26/2008 11:58: Here is MSNBC's First Read: http://firstread.msnbc.msn....
  • 4/26/2008 12:04: Tooting the Post's own horn: Abramoff coverage -- http://tinyurl.com/8chq6
  • 4/26/2008 12:07: Seattle Times's McDermott story: http://tinyurl.com/5hexpj
  • 4/26/2008 12:49: Here is the Off The Bus Campaign Field Guide (wiki): http://tinyurl.com/5g8vh3
  • 4/26/2008 13:22: My collection of links to sites/features mentioned during the USC Knight Seminar: http://tinyurl.com/5mcxbu
  • 4/26/2008 20:40: Walked through L.A.'s Little Tokyo. Who knew? Great, kitschy stuff in the stores.

April 24, 2008

Mark Warner on 2nd Life

Read Dana Milbank’s take

Speaking of Mark Warner and 2nd Life, The Post’s Dana Milbank did a hilarious send off on it:


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This blog reflects the way a group of USC Annenberg graduate students interpret what they hear during the three-day workshop: Election '08: Unleashing the Cyber-Watchdogs. We invite you to comment on what you read or to contribute your own insight and ideas to the concepts we are discussing.

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