Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘politics’

By Ed Otte

“Follow the money” is a popular saying from the 1976 movie “All The President’s Men.” It was also the message at a May 1 program about transparency and open government at the Denver Press Club.

Sandra Fish and Nancy Watzman lead a workshop on following the money of today's politics.

Sandra Fish and Nancy Watzman lead a workshop on following the money of today’s politics.

Nancy Watzman of the Sunlight Foundation and Sandra Fish with the Journalism & Women Symposium explained how to research election campaign finances. “Tools for Journalists: Following the Colorado Money” was cosponsored by JAWS and the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

“The primary races will be really important,” Fish said. “A lot of money will be coming in for those and a lot of money will be spent on ballot initiatives. With the resources available on the Sunlight website and the (Colorado) Secretary of State website, you’ll find useful information for many stories.”

Watzman’s PowerPoint demonstration showed the various categories and links available on the Sunlight site at http://www.SunlightFoundation.com.

“The Realtime Federal Campaign Finance tracker gives you up-to-the-minute filings,” she said. “Political Ad Sleuth shows you who’s buying airtime for political ads. Old-fashioned reporting can find some of the funding sources for the groups that buy ads, the ‘grassroots’ funding sources.

“Scout is another really, really useful tool. It searches for key phrases in legislation and will send you email and text alerts on specific issues.”

Fish said following campaign donation activity is important because “Amendment 27 changed the playing field, shifting power from candidates and parties. It sharply regulates how much money you can give to campaigns. Now, 527s and IE (Independent Expenditure) Committees are powerful here.”

Amendment 27 was passed by 66 percent of Colorado voters in 2002. It was designed to curb the influence of special interest groups by limiting the amounts and types of political contributions.

The Tracer link on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website (www.sos.state.co.us) “will help you with stories about cash,” Fish said. “Who’s buying TV ads. Who gives the most? It can sort to see who’s given the most in an election cycle. For example, you can see who spent money, and how much, in the 2010 GOP governor races.”

Watzman encouraged journalists to look at additional training opportunities, including free webinars and other online tools, on the Sunlight Academy link on the Foundation’s website. She also explained that the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization’s name comes from a 1913 quote by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

“That’s why,” she said, “we believe in making government accountable and transparent.”

-30-

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

It’s April and Colorado Pro is hoping your Spring has sprung. We are deep into planning for our biggest event of the year, the Top of the Rockies Awards Reception Friday April 25 at the Denver Press Club. More details below, but we hope you all can make it. We’ve awarded our 2014 scholarships and there’s also a cool May program coming up.

Top of the Rockies to ROCK the Denver Press Club

The Top of the Rockies Awards night, as we said, is next week! The fun starts at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 25, at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm, Denver. After socializing, networking, beverages and light appetizers, we’ll start the awards presentation at 7 p.m. We’ve got a NEW format for announcing awards that doesn’t involve a lot of name reading (don’t worry, you all will still get cool recognition in front of your peers). With a record number of entries this year, we’re expecting a lot of attendees to celebrate recognition for a lot of hard work and fantastic journalism in 2013. Entry is free to winners and we’ll ask for a small donation from others to help defray costs. Light appetizers will be provided with a cash bar. Our keynote speaker is Patty Calhoun, editor of Westword. Don’t forget to RSVP on our Facebook page, so we know how much food to make.

2014 Scholarship Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s scholarships by SPJ’s Colorado Pro chapter. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit, need and desire to be a journalist.
We had more applicants this year than we’ve had in a while, so thanks all you students for your interest. And because of the elevated number of applicants, the board awarded more money than ever: $7,500!
The envelope please.
The 2014 Helen Verba Awards for print journalism:
* Kiki Turner of the University of Colorado at Boulder, $1,500.
* Kara Mason of Colorado State University-Pueblo, $1,500.
* Scott Fromberg of Colorado State University, $1,500.
* Allison Dyer Bluemel of Colorado State University, $1,000.
* Cali Rastrelli of Colorado State University, $500.
* Hunter Goddard of Colorado State University, $500.

2014 Sheldon Peterson Award for broadcast journalism:
* Sasha Klepitskaya of the University of Colorado at Boulder, $1,000.

Here’s what Sasha had to say on FaceBook after being informed of her scholarship: “Today I was awarded a scholarship from the Society of Professional Journalists! It’s such an honor to be believed in by the best in the business, and it sure takes a little load off my pockets. I can’t thank the SPJ enough! Seems like after everything is said and done, I’m right where I need to be. – feeling blessed.”

We wish all the winners much luck in your continued journalistic endeavors.

May Programming update

Colorado will again play a prominent national role in the November elections and where there’s interest, there’s money – a lot of it – with much of it pouring in from outside the state.

Journalism and Women Symposium and the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will co-sponsor a program on elections and campaign finances on Thursday, May 1, at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place. The 6:30 p.m. event is free and open to the public.

Join Nancy Waltzman of the Sunlight Foundation, who will show you tools to follow the federal money that flows into the state, and Sandra Fish, an independent journalist, who will offer tips on tracking money at the state level.

The Sunlight Foundation is a nonpartisan nonprofit founded in 2006 that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency.

JAWS supports the professional empowerment and personal growth of women in journalism and works toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society.

From the face off between U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff to the competitive race between U.S. Sen Mark Udall and U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, to the battle over control of the Colorado Senate, there is much to watchdog. Fortunately, there are resources to help.

At the May 1 program, find out how to use Sunlight’s suite of tools and apps to track the latest campaign finance reports, ad spending, fundraisers and more. Learn to navigate the Secretary of State’s campaign finance system and where else to go for Colorado information (think TV ad contracts, with caveats and cautions on what to look for and what to look out for.

Read Full Post »