What I Did Last Weekend (Datafest Late Edition)

Award winner at Stanford Datafest! Is the influx of millions of dollars to Wisconsin both for and against Scott Walker an aberration, or have state political races always been powered by "outside" influences? Our project collates and visualizes the amount and proportion of out-of-state money contributed to gubernatorial races in all 50 states and tracks from where this money came (which states, largest individual donors).

Our raw data was scraped from the Sunlight Foundation's and other sources, and cleaned so that it could serve to power our interactive heat map (more to come on how that was made). Original investigative reporting on some of the top donors was added to illustrate how our tool can serve as a springboard for deep, data-driven journalism.

Team Members: Gershon Bialer, Jake Bialer, Vamshidar Reddy Boda,Beth Morrissey, Laura Rena Murray, Bill Tang, Dan Turner

(Note: Yes, the map needs to be resized, and the popups need to be cleaned.)

Live version: http://twoangstroms.com/datafest2/


Relativity and Rosen

Jay Rosen makes some good points in his "View from Nowhere" post. The idea of an impartial position is an important (if fairly recent) framework in journalism, but its limitations and problematic aspects have become the story in the last few years. Perhaps we should extend the metaphor of "position", relative to this framework. Einstein showed that the idea of simultaneity is a false one, and that velocity only is meaningful in terms of a frame of reference. Acceleration, however, was a real effect. Perhaps a way out of this "neutral position" muddle is to measure reportorial/editorial voices not just in comparison to some "liberal" or "conservative" North star, but by the change between these positions. We could call that "media literacy" or something.