Election: Reverse-engineering campaign finance stories

  • Event: 2016 CAR Conference
  • Speakers: Aaron Bycoffe of FiveThirtyEight; Derek Willis of ProPublica; Carrie Levine of The Center for Public Integrity
  • Date/Time: Friday, Mar. 11 at 3:30pm
  • Location: Colorado F
  • Audio file: Only members can listen to conference audio

We're in the midst of a presidential election cycle when money is expected to play a bigger role than ever. We'll walk you through several stories and ideas involving money in politics and explain each step along the way, from data gathering to analysis to presentation. We'll suggest techniques for coming up with ideas of your own, and cover common scenarios and pitfalls. Bring your own ideas for stories, especially if you don’t know how to get started.

Speaker Bios

  • Aaron Bycoffe is a computational journalist at FiveThirtyEight. He has worked at The Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation, the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., and the Daily Press in Newport News, Va. @bycoffe

  • Carrie Levine (@levinecarrie) investigates the influence of money in politics. She was previously research director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a reporter and associate editor for The National Law Journal, and has also worked for the Charlotte Observer, the Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass., and The Sun (Lowell, Mass.). She is a graduate of Boston University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

  • Derek Willis is a news applications developer at ProPublica, focusing on politics and elections. He previously worked as a developer and reporter at The New York Times, a database editor at The Washington Post, and at the Center for Public Integrity and Congressional Quarterly. He began his journalism career at The Palm Beach Post. He is a co-founder of OpenElections, a project to collect and publish election results from all 50 states.

Related Tipsheets

  • Reverse-engineering campaign finance stories
    From these slides, you can learn how to find some story ideas from campaign finance data, including using FECh to analyze candidates' electronic filings. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1sZ6ZK8SuvlGrORK3JNHpvyy1meLXsOniIJvmhjqvsPk/pub?start=false&loop=false&delayms=3000&slide=id.g10d3f1196a_1_10