Building tools for covering Congressional primaries

Spurring technology innovation in the way elections are covered will be an ongoing initiative at the Knight Lab, and the March 20 primaries in Illinois provide a great place for us to start. (See project page here.)

Thanks to redistricting and successive "wave" elections that brought many new faces to Congress in 2006, 2008, and 2010, there will be hotly contested Republican and Democratic contests throughout the state on March 20, 2012. The races will pit newcomers versus political veterans and current members versus former colleagues.

The Lab will be utilizing technology to analyze websites and social media to help illustrate what candidates stand for and where they are getting their support. By aggregating content from a variety of sources, the Lab aims to offer voters a more comprehensive picture of the races than any single news source can provide on its own.

Digital services that until recently were only on the periphery of campaigns are now often central to candidate strategies, so we'll deploy technology to monitor Twitter, Facebook and the candidates' own web sites to capture and illustrate the language that candidates and the supporters are using as the races take shape.

We'll also aggregate coverage of the elections from widely-dispersed sites and blogs, with the goal of presenting an comprehensive overview of the campaigns in districts that twist across many miles and through multiple media markets.

Our election services will be offered to sites as widgets and pages that media partners can incorporate into their own election coverage as they see fit. The Lab will also operate a demonstration site that includes all of the features offered to partners. Details on the services will be available in January.

-- Mike Silver

About the author

Mike Silver

Executive Director, 2011-2012

Latest Posts

  • With the 25th CAR Conference upon us, let’s recall the first oneWhen the Web was young, data journalism pioneers gathered in Raleigh

    For a few days in October 1993, if you were interested in journalism and technology, Raleigh, North Carolina was the place you had to be. The first Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference offered by Investigative Reporters & Editors brought more than 400 journalists to Raleigh for 3½ days of panels, demos and hands-on lessons in how to use computers to find stories in data. That seminal event will be commemorated this week at the 25th CAR Conference, which...

    Continue Reading

  • Prototyping Augmented Reality

    Something that really frustrates me is that, while I’m excited about the potential AR has for storytelling, I don’t feel like I have really great AR experiences that I can point people to. We know that AR is great for taking a selfie with a Pikachu and it’s pretty good at measuring spaces (as long as your room is really well lit and your phone is fully charged) but beyond that, we’re really still figuring...

    Continue Reading

  • Capturing the Soundfield: Recording Ambisonics for VR

    When building experiences in virtual reality we’re confronted with the challenge of mimicking how sounds hit us in the real world from all directions. One useful tool for us to attempt this mimicry is called a soundfield microphone. We tested one of these microphones to explore how audio plays into building immersive experiences for virtual reality. Approaching ambisonics with the soundfield microphone has become popular in development for VR particularly for 360 videos. With it,...

    Continue Reading

  • Prototyping Spatial Audio for Movement Art

    One of Oscillations’ technical goals for this quarter’s Knight Lab Studio class was an exploration of spatial audio. Spatial audio is sound that exists in three dimensions. It is a perfect complement to 360 video, because sound sources can be localized to certain parts of the video. Oscillations is especially interested in using spatial audio to enhance the neuroscientific principles of audiovisual synchrony that they aim to emphasize in their productions. Existing work in spatial......

    Continue Reading

  • Oscillations Audience Engagement Research Findings

    During the Winter 2018 quarter, the Oscillations Knight Lab team was tasked in exploring the question: what constitutes an engaging live movement arts performance for audiences? Oscillations’ Chief Technology Officer, Ilya Fomin, told the team at quarter’s start that the startup aims to create performing arts experiences that are “better than reality.” In response, our team spent the quarter seeking to understand what is reality with qualitative research. Three members of the team interviewed more......

    Continue Reading

  • How to translate live-spoken human words into computer “truth”

    Our Knight Lab team spent three months in Winter 2018 exploring how to combine various technologies to capture, interpret, and fact check live broadcasts from television news stations, using Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant device as a low-friction way to initiate the process. The ultimate goal was to build an Alexa skill that could be its own form of live, automated fact-checking: cross-referencing a statement from a politician or otherwise newsworthy figure against previously fact-checked statements......

    Continue Reading

Storytelling Tools

We build easy-to-use tools that can help you tell better stories.

View More