A Northwestern University joint initiative of Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science. Northwestern University joint initiative of Medill & McCormick School of Engineering.

What’s in our toolkit for Congressional primaries?

This week we are releasing details of the services we’re creating to enhance coverage of the March 20 primaries that will choose Democratic and Republican candidates for Congress in Illinois.

The Lab is actively monitoring digital activity surrounding the 25 contested races across the state’s 18 congressional districts.  As we said when we announced the project in December, our goal is to help voters better understand what the candidates stand for and where they are getting their support.

The project’s three main elements are:

  • Candidate profiles from a social media perspective, including analysis of what the candidates tweet about and what their followers tweet about.
  • An aggregation tool that scoops up coverage of individual congressional primary races from many sources, which we believe is especially important given the meandering shape of many of the districts.
  • A simplified snapshot of campaign contributions that focuses on the geographical profile of each candidate’s contributor base

The Lab’s goal is to make the services available to as many local partners as possible — ranging from large newspaper sites to community bloggers — and is offering them in multiple formats to suit individual publisher needs.

The applications will be combined into full pages (served by the Lab) focusing on specific races and individual candidates, which partners can use with their own site branding and navigation.  Partners will also have access to individual apps as widgets that can be added to their own pages.  Details are available in this overview and in this FAQ.

The Knight Lab is reaching out to potential partners throughout Illinois and adjacent media markets to explain the project in greater detail.  Potential partners can also contact r-graff@northwestern.edu to get a head start on customizing the services, which will be ready for consumer use in mid-February.

The services will also appear—along with additional blog posts, analysis and apps under development–at the Lab demonstration site at congressionalprimaries.com in February.

–Mike Silver

 

 

 

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Northwestern University Knight Lab advances news media innovation through exploration, experimentation and education. The Lab's free publishing tools help to make information more meaningful and promote quality storytelling on the Internet.

About the author

About Posted on January 24, 2012 Posted by
Mike Silver was the Lab's first Executive Director.