Friday, November 28th, 2014

Politifact's Obameter wins Knight-Batten Award

The Obameter was one of six winners of the Special Distinction award. The grand prize winner was Sunlight Live, a project of the Sunlight Foundation.
The Obameter was one of six winners of the Special Distinction award. The grand prize winner was Sunlight Live, a project of the Sunlight Foundation.

PolitiFact's Obameter has won a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism.

The Obameter, a database that tracks the progress of President Barack Obama's campaign promises, was one of six Special Distinction awards chosen by the judges. The grand prize winner was Sunlight Live, an effort by the Sunlight Foundation to combine live blogging, streaming video and social networking. It was first used during February's health care summit.

This is PolitiFact's second Knight-Batten award, given every year to "honor creative uses of new technologies to engage citizens in public issues and showcase compelling models for the future of news." We won in 2008 for our fact-checking of the presidential campaign.

The judges said the Obameter "pioneered a new form of accountability journalism" by rating the progress of 500 of President Barack Obama's campaign promises. "They made a game out of substance in a good way," the judges said. "It's tracking a story that is unfolding into the future, which is not something we do very often."

The other Special Distinction winners, with the judges' descriptions:

ProPublica's Distributed Reporting, an effort by the public journalism site to do crowdsourcing, conduct experiments, and give citizens "serious assignments."

48 HR Magazine, a "spectacular 60-page magazine and online site . . . (that) demonstrated the potential of citizen-generated news at high speed."

Ushahidi Haiti:  "Less than two hours after Haiti's January earthquake, Ushahidi marshaled Skype, Twitter, Facebook, radio and short codes to crowdsource real-time needs. With 1,000 online volunteers translating text messages from Creole, and other volunteers mapping crisis spots, the effort had an unprecedented impact on disaster relief efforts."

Publish2 News Exchange: "Introduced in May, this platform allows news organizations to interact directly with one another to create custom newswires and set terms for collaborating and sharing content."

Sourcing Through Texting: "A team from The Takeaway radio show (co-produced by WNYC and Public Radio International) joined journalists from WDET Detroit in a successful experiment that prompted residents to text tips about particular stories from Mexicantown in Southwest Detroit."

"We're beyond the 'wow' phase of realizing that citizens can impact journalism and we're now into the 'how' phase," said Jan Schaffer, director of J-Lab, which administers the awards. "Welcome to the next chapter for online journalism."