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VizPol takes a cue from bird-watching apps to help journalists identify unfamiliar political symbols
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April 12, 2017, 12:06 p.m.

Members of Congress are back in their districts this week for the start of a two-week recess, and as the senators and representatives hold town halls and meet constituents, The Washington Post is asking its readers to help its coverage by sharing video and audio clips from meetings they attend.

“We’ll take suggestions for any topic that piques your interest, though we’re especially interested in health care, immigration, actions taken by President Trump’s administration, and the federal budget,” Post Fact Checker reporter Michelle Ye Hee Lee wrote in a letter to readers on the Post’s website.

The Post is asking readers to focus on senators who are up for re-election in 2018 and representatives who are in potential swing districts.

Given the heightened political climate, the Post is far from the only outlet that’s asking its readers for help. Last month, as the House of Representatives debated the ultimately doomed bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, ProPublica — working with Kaiser Health News, Stat, and Vox — asked readers to share letters or other messages that members of Congress were sending to their constituents about the health care debate.

To date, the ProPublica-led effort has been able to collect messages from more than 200 senators and representatives, according to a spreadsheet of results it published.

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