1029 campaign finance

INTERACTIVE CAMPAIGN FINANCE: 8 Days Before the Election, Reports for Missouri races

The 8-Day Before Election reports featured here are the second installment in an election season project to compile and produce graphical reports on the campaign finance earnings and expenditures of 33 candidates for 14 state and local races. 

While none of the reporting bears my name, I feel the project is important to include in my portfolio because I took responsibility for developing its system of execution. I unofficially spearheaded the undertaking to assist public life editor Scott Swafford.

Leading up to production night (when all candidates’ quarterly campaign finance reports were due to the Missouri Ethics Commission), I implemented changes to the system from two weeks earlier. These included: streamlined cloud-based communications among all desks on production night, more thorough data entry requirements, improved proofreading by reporters, and clearer direction for the copy desk through more detailed priorities.  

This again involved coordinating work sessions with infographics TA Christina Trester and news applications developer Steve Rich, and contributing to communications with the copy desk. On production night, I led the public life team through the process of downloading reports, entering data and proofing each other’s work. I stayed in touch with the graphics and copy desks throughout the night, and stayed up late proofing the published graphics. 

On production night, I became aware of a page in the campaign finance report that many reporters had not included in their data entry. I stayed late proofing all graphics to ensure that our reporting was accurate, and in the following days retraced the same data for all candidates in all races from our previous quarterly reports, again to ensure accuracy. I found only minor omissions from our online database (all graphics were correct) and submitted those entries to Steve Rich for prompt inclusion. 

Published graphics

Each race’s campaign finance report comparison graphic was published separately.

Online database — This is the same online database featured on the quarterly report page.

Supporting documentation

The links here bring you to some of the new documentation I created in the process of improving the system that would make the above work possible.

Data entry form — This method was also used for the quarterly reports.

Cloud-based tracker — This replaced a physical tracking matrix on the white board.