Politics in Numbers: a new data portal about political party finances in Georgia
As 2016 is an election year in Georgia, we thought it was time to make political party finances transparent and accessible for Georgian voters prior to the elections. As a US State Department exchange program alumna, I was eligible to apply for a grant for Digital Communication Network Program participants. With my fellow program participant, Keti Bojgua from TV Imedi, I decided to apply JumpStart’s experience in data communication and visualization to open up important data stored in reports and various data-files about Georgian politics. When journalists use data in their everyday reporting before the election, voters become more informed about their choices at the polling stations in October.
The Politics in Numbers data portal will present data about major political parties and their finances by various categories, including donations and other income from different sources, property, expenditures, sanctions for violations, etc. It will enable users to find data-based answers to the questions like “which party spends most on offices” or “how has the amount of donations given to certain political parties changed over time,” etc.
The project is being implemented in cooperation with the State Audit Service, which approached JumpStart earlier with the wish to make the extensive amount of data in their ownership more accessible and understandable for the public. We are glad to cooperate with them for the Politics in Numbers party financing data portal.
While accumulating and presenting all data about political party and campaign funding in an easy and attractive way, Politics in Numbers data portal aims to:
- make it easier for journalists both from mainstream and new media to get access to political party finance data;
- encourage them to do analysis through easy-to-use tools;
- promote the use of data visualizations and other digital tools in mainstream media and political reporting by providing ready-made downloadable and embeddable graphics;
- encourage ordinary voters to explore facts and make their own analysis about parties.
As part of the project, Keti and I will visit academic and research institutions and Georgian newsrooms, both in Tbilisi and regions, to train journalists and researchers how to use the portal, filter data according to their needs and interests, download or embed charts in publications, or share their findings with the wider audience.
We’ve already started designing the portal and expect it to be completed by the end of July. Stay tuned! If you want us to visit your institution to present our new tool, get in touch!