When I grow up I want to be a CAR journalist, one who knows several methods of computer-assisted reporting and how to mine data for great stories. One of the newest uses that impresses me is what the New York Times is doing by getting an API from the Federal Election Commission and updating its Election Spending Totals section daily.
Now frankly, I don’t understand all of what the developers explain about how they do this, but I’m impressed that they are transparent in how they do this. What I can understand is the final result, a daily update of which candidate is getting what money. See the graphic at the left, a snapshot from February 29.
The blog, 10,000 Words blog has a helpful explanation of how this works, but for true geeks this New York Times developer network page explains the campaign finance API. Again, it’s beyond me but I admire those who understand it and translate it into meaningful information for the rest of us.
Just proves again to me the important role journalists have in a democracy!