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Online tool to help journalists, consumers discover political connections in news

Digging up political influences: Anyone can use this, but it could be especially powerful in the hands of hands of journalists, bloggers, and others reporting or analyzing the news. It would take hours to look these things up by hand, and many people don't know how to find or use the information, says Poynter columnist Megan Taylor. Journalists could paste in their copy to do a quick check for connections they might have missed. Bloggers could run Poligraft on a series of political stories to reveal the web of contributions leading to a bill.

A new online tool has been released in the US that tries to add political context to news stories. Poligraft, released by the Sunlight Foundation, scans news articles for the names of donors, corporations, lobbyists and politicians and shows how they are connected by contributions.

The tool is easy to use: Just submit the URL or text of a news article, and Poligraft creates a sidebar containing the relevant information from data provided by the Centre for Responsive Politics and the National Institute for Money in State Politics.

The sidebar shows the aggregated contributions from an organisation to a politician (for instance, from various employees of one company). The second section, "points of influence," shows campaign contributions received by politicians, as well as contributions made by organizations. You can click on the names of people or organizations to learn more about them, such as who their contributors are or what lobbying firms theyve hired.

Poligraft has a handy bookmarklet so that one can use the tool to analyse any story from the browser.

Poligraft describes itself as is a website and utility that creates an enhanced view of the people, organizations and relationships described within political news stories, blog posts and press releases. Poligraft uses Calais for identifying and tagging the people and organisations in all searches performed.

Poligraft can be accessed at

Date posted: August 19, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 221