Texas Tribune Equips Digital Advocates with Data Apps

The NPR program “On The Media” recently focused an episode on data. Listen to the entire episode:

They featured the public data available on the Texas Tribune website. The segment discussed how the Texas Tribune makes public information more accessible and also more digestible to citizens through a webpage devoted to data.


Texas Tribune Data Apps

Here are some smart features of the Texas Tribune Data site:

Maps by Congressional District

It is helpful to pair data with mapping technology, as most people are interested in what is happening in their communities. Mapping by congressional districts, however, helps citizens connect problems that emerge from trends in the data to the elected officials who can address them. For example, one interactive map on the site shows food insecurity rates by congressional district.

Texas Tribune Food Stamp

This could help citizens assess the economic health of their district, or assess the impact of food stamp cuts.

Twitter Account to Broadcast the Data

Texas Tribune Data

The Texas Tribune Twitter handle, @TribData, tweets regularly on new data findings and releases. Not only does this channel provide followers with updates when new data tools are available, but it also provides context with the Tweets that link to the data.

Texas Tribune

Creating Apps that Use the Data

Perhaps the most exciting part of the website is the use of data to create the apps. These apps draw from the public data the Texas Tribune collects, and they repackage it for use by citizens. One example is an app related to the Texas Prison population, encouraging users to “Use this application to explore Texas’ numerous prison units, and learn more about the 160,000 inmates housed inside them. “

Texas Prison App

The Amplification Project sees public information as a critical piece of successful digital advocacy. The Amplification Project’s formula for effective digital advocacy is heavily invested in applying, and then translating data to empower advocacy groups and citizens to take action on critical policy issues. Access to public information, and creating websites for advocates to work with the data themselves is a fantastic way to help enhance digital advocacy with data.

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