Nieman Foundation at Harvard
Postcards and laundromat visits: The Texas Tribune audience team experiments with IRL distribution
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Jan. 7, 2014, 2:02 p.m.

Data from the U.S. Treasury is available to the public but hard to access and harder to understand. Lucky for us journalists, csv soundsystem (reference), a hacker-journalist collective from NYC, built Treasury.IO, which downloads government files every day, scrapes them, parses the data, and creates usable databases. Today, Source has a look at how the program works and what you can do with it.

Treasury.IO has opened the door for various visualizations and analyses:

— Time used the data to power a tracker of daily government cash holdings during the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis.

— Reuters used Treasury.IO to analyze federal payroll data for a story on the effect of the shutdown on federal employees’ wallets.

— Al Jazeera America tapped Sunlight Foundation’s Capitol Words API and Treasury.IO to make a chart which matches up mentions of the “debt ceiling” in Congress with shifts in the debt ceiling to show the issue’s politicization over time.

— On our sample queries page, we provide information on how to write the queries to produce these and other analyses.

Still seem like a lot of work? No problem. These news nerds also built a Twitter bot that analyzes and tweets bite-sized bits of information about government spending.

This works by submitting specific queries to our API and formatting the results as text (see the code here). You can follow @TreasuryIO on Twitter to get daily mini-analyses, such as this:

Show tags
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Postcards and laundromat visits: The Texas Tribune audience team experiments with IRL distribution
As social platforms falter for news, a number of nonprofit outlets are rethinking distribution for impact and in-person engagement.
Radio Ambulante launches its own record label as a home for its podcast’s original music
“So much of podcast music is background, feels like filler sometimes, but with our composers, it never is.”
How uncritical news coverage feeds the AI hype machine
“The coverage tends to be led by industry sources and often takes claims about what the technology can and can’t do, and might be able to do in the future, at face value in ways that contribute to the hype cycle.”