About Politics Verbatim
In case you haven't noticed, politicians love to talk.
Between interviews and news stories, television ads and radio spots, public speeches and fund-raisers, campaign season is a months-long battle of bluster, showmanship and ultimately persuasion between representatives of different ideologies, each fighting for your support and ultimately your vote.
For many of us, most of those words go in one ear and out the other. That's where we come in.
Politics Verbatim was created by California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting to help voters sort out where political candidates stand and then hold them accountable to their words, starting with the California governor's race.
How it works
With help from our crack team of interns and freelancers, California Watch staff work each day to catalog every piece of political speech we can find: interviews, articles, YouTube videos, live appearances, direct mail and more. We then break those down one quote, promise or policy point at a time and tag them with subject categories.
Want to see promises Jerry Brown has made about the state budget? Each candidate's specific policy ideas about crime? Statements Meg Whitman has given in your hometown? Use our search tool to drill down into the rhetoric and find out what the candidates have said about the issues that matter to you.
Cataloging the governor's race is a big job, and we don't expect to be perfect. We will miss things, and sometimes we might be late. For example, long television appearances like debates take time to transcribe, so they could take a little while to enter.
We know that this project will only be as useful as the information we collect, so it's our goal to be as complete as we can. That's where you come in.
How you can help
Whether you work for a major media outlet or just plan to attend a political event in your spare time, you can help us make Politics Verbatim a better resource for everyone.
Each campaign provides regular updates of their candidate's public appearances, which we'll keep track of on our events page. If you're planning to attend an event, let us know and we'll give you some tips on recording video and audio, as well as a way to send the files to us. We'll do the hard part of transcribing it and posting it on our site.
Media organizations: If you'd like to partner with us on this project, contact California Watch Editorial Director Mark Katches.
Donors and volunteers: If you'd like to contribute time or money to the project, primarily to help with transcription services, contact Cherilyn Parsons.
We also plan to roll out a suite of crowdsourcing tools this summer that will make it easier for volunteers to get involved, so stay tuned ...
An unfortunate reality of the newsgathering process is that most interview material and research ends up on the cutting-room floor. Politics Verbatim can help you capture that information and turn it into a valuable resource for your readers.
We've built this system to be generic, so it can just as easily be applied to a local City Council race or coverage of a state budget as it can a race for governor or even president. If you'd be interested in using Politics Verbatim in your local community, contact California Watch Editorial Director Mark Katches.