ShovelWatch Uses Crowdsourcing to Track the Stimulus Bill

Few topics are galvanizing the American public right now like the stimulus bill and how the stimulus money will be spent. ShovelWatch is a joint project of not-for-profit news organization ProPublica, PRI’s The Takeaway, and WNYC Radio that plans to track the “stimulus from bills to building.” ShovelWatch currently aggregates the best stories about the stimulus bill from all three sites and will feature more original reporting from citizens in the future. The site also features some of the most informative infographics about the stimulus bill.

Currently, the site mostly features investigative reporting on the stimulus bill, but in the long run, ShovelWatch will provide more original reporting, documents and data as well. For their infographics, ShovelWatch and ProPublica mostly rely on IBM’s Many Eyes.

Crowdsourcing

Maybe the most interesting aspect of ShovelWatch, however, is that it plans to engage citizen reporters to track how the stimulus money will be spent in their local communities. Essentially, the site plans to crowdsource the coverage of the stimulus plan.

Besides its focus on content from The Takeaway, ProPublica, and WNYC, ShovelWatch also tracks stories about the Stimulus Bill on other news sites and features a nice list of resources in its sidebar.

With Recovery.gov, the government has obviously created its own site for tracking the stimulus bill, but Recovery.gov doesn’t currently feature as much in-depth information as ShovelWatch (the ‘announcements on the site haven’t been updated since the middle of last week) and its focus is more on providing a high-level overview and not on tracking local developments.

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