Washington Post keeps tabs on election hopefuls

Washington PostThe latest addition to The Washington Post’s presidential election coverage is a data-driven Google Maps mashup that helps readers keep tabs on candidates.

Campaign Tracker, another invention from editor of editorial innovations Adrian Holovaty, lists previous and upcoming events on candidates’ campaign trails.

Information can be viewed by candidate, by date or by state, allowing readers to check on all hopefuls’ visits to their home area. They can also receive notifications of forthcoming visits by RSS feed.

Launched at the end of last week, it contains map markers giving an insight into the ground covered by candidates campaigning to compete in next year’s presidential run-off.

“The site’s goals are to compile as much information about candidates’ travel as possible and to make it easy to browse all of that information in a variety of ways,” Mr Holovaty wrote.

“Our staff has done a great job compiling all of this. The site is fully Django powered. Everything integrates with the other apps we’ve been churning out, such as the Q1 campaign finance data and candidate bios.”

Just launched last week, the Tracker is the latest development from Holvaty and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive product development vice president Rob Curley – the programming pair whose innovations first won fans at newspapers in Lawrence, Kansas.

Last year’s Senate elections saw the Post build Mixed Messages, a comparative database of election campaign advertisements.

Mr Holovaty last month called on newspapers to enhance visual and fact-driven story context by hiring more programmers to work  in newsrooms.

However, the Post is not alone in such innovations as newspapers gear up for the most wired election coverage in history – The New York Times rolled out a similarly data and map-driven campaign finance tracking tool last month and more innovations are expected as the election gathers pace.