9 Tools For Election Reporting That Get Our Vote

9 Tools for Election Reporting in 2018

This November, Americans will be voting to fill more than 400 House and Senate seats.

For journalists, keeping track of all the news, trends, races, and data is a huge job.

These tools can help you gather data to stay on top of what’s trending in your community and across the nation and create engaging stories with audio and multimedia assets.

Google Trends Midterm

Google recently announced the launch of this Trends page that helps organize search data around the midterm elections.

Journalists can click on a state to learn more about county and city search trends for candidates and key issues. Trends also can be compared over time.

The data is not an indicator of voter intent, but gives an idea of what matters most to a particular community.

Google-Trends-Midterm

Election DataBot

ProPublica and the Google News Lab partnered to create this thorough compilation of political news stories that’s updated in real time.

Data includes “campaign finance filings, Google search trends, vote activity and press releases from sitting members of Congress, news articles from Google News, and Cook Political Report race ratings.”

Users are able to set up alerts to know when specific candidates or races are trending. Check out ProPublica’s blog post to learn more about how to get the most out of the tool. Election DataBot ProPublica

De-Jargonizer

Using clear, natural language in election news helps it appeal to and be understood by a broad audience. Cutting back on jargon is key.

The De-Jargonizer tool tells you how accessible your story is. Just paste in your text or upload a document, and De-Jargonizer will quickly give you an easy-to-read analysis of which words may be difficult for readers to understand.

This blog post, for example, scored 91 on De-Jargonizer’s 0-100 scale for suitability for a general audience.

De-Jargonizer Homepage

FairVote.org

FairVote is a nonpartisan organization that strives for electoral reforms and fair representation.

The site tracks voter turnout and provides resources like research reports and election information on primaries, redistricting, voting rights, and more.

FairVote Homepage

LittleSis

LittleSis, the “opposite of big brother,” is a free database that documents the connections between powerful individuals and organizations.

A useful fool for journalists, watchdogs, and grassroots activists, the project aims to “bring transparency to influential social networks by tracking the key relationships of politicians, business leaders, lobbyists, financiers, and their affiliated institutions.”

The Oligrapher tool allows users to visualize complicated networks by creating a custom map from LittleSis data.

LittleSis Homepage

Echosec

Echosec uses geofencing technology to provide location-based social media data from more than 14 social networks.

Journalists can use the tool to get a picture of events as they unfold in real time. Users also can set notifications and stay on top of regional and local trends.

Census QuickFacts

This page on the United States Census Bureau’s website is helpful for gathering state and county census data on topics like age, sex, race, housing, and education.

Data can be presented in maps, charts, or tables. It also can be exported, embedded, and shared on Facebook and Twitter.

U S Census Bureau QuickFacts

SoundciteJS

Use Soundcite to add inline sound bites to your story, allowing readers to listen while they read. Choose a word or phrase to link to the audio, and it will play right from the text when clicked on.

Sound clips from interviews, debates, or speeches can be embedded directly into your story to add context.

SoundciteJS Homepage

SnapStream

Called the “DVR for business,” SnapStream allows you to record TV (up to 100 channels at once), use closed captioning to search TV in real time, and create and share TV clips.

The tool makes it easy to share clips and recordings with your team or post them to social media in seconds.

SnapStream is used by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Politico, and the Washington Examiner, among others.

For even more tools to help with your writing, check out our post The ABCs of Digital Journalism Tools: Helpful Apps and Sites to Make Your Job Easier.

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Author Rocky Parker works in Audience Relations at PR Newswire. When she’s not working, Rocky can be found testing new recipes, binge watching a new Netflix series, or taking her pitbull puppy Hudson out around town.

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