Skip to primary content


Networked Journalism Examines Congress Bill

This from PressThink:

Today marks a key moment in the evolution of the Web as a reporting medium. The first left-right-center coalition of bloggers, activists, non-profits, citizens and journalists to investigate a story of national import: Congressional earmarks and those who sponsor and benefit from them….The partners in the Exposing Earmarks Project are the Sunlight Foundation, Citizens Against Government Waste, Porkbusters, and the Examiner Newspapers, along with Club for Growth, Human Events Online, Tapscott’s Copy Desk- and you, should you choose to be involved.

This is a big deal as Rosen writes:

I’m excited to see if this works. Pro-am journalism isn’t an abstraction any more. It’s happening today.

He adds:

Why is this project a significant marker in Web journalism?

  • It’s trying to bring new facts to light: “which members of Congress sponsored the 1,867 secret spending earmarks worth more than $500 million in the Labor-Health and Human Services appropriation bill now before Congress.”
  • It’s the work of a coalition that crosses partisan lines- from Zephyr Teachout to Glenn Reynolds, if you will.
  • It’s about a fundamental matter of accountability in elected government: will members of Congress own up to their concealed actions?
  • The story is still in motion. As The Examiner notes, “Congress may still modify the bill, approve it as is or reject it.” This is journalism in time to make a difference.
  • It enlists Net users across the country in the collecting and sharing of information of vital public importance.
  • Journalists in Washington do what they can do best (”Examiner reporters will be asking questions on Capitol Hill about many of these earmarks in coming days”) citizen-reporters do what they do best- contacting their Representatives as concerned constituents demanding answers.
  • It develops a pool of common data that different partners can interpret and talk about in their separate ways. Therefore they don’t have to see eye-to-eye on everything, just the importance of bringing these facts to light.
  • It shows that in newspaper journalism Web innovations are more likely to come from outside the established players- in this case billionarie Philip Anschutz’s Examiner chain (See Jack Shafer on Anschutz.)
  • It couldn’t be done without the Net.

Technorati : , : ,

Comments are closed.