Session 3, Digital electioneering and advocacy


  • Importance of primary documents
  • DLs – Amber and Linda
  • Examples, issues related to advocacy
  • Lunch
  • ElectionEye session
  • FactCheckWA session
  • Goals for Aug 11

The importance of primary documents: Dora’s story


Lecture/Discussion and Resource Material

How are digital technologies changing how campaigns are financed? What about Citizens United? How are political campaigns using (and abusing) digital technologies?


Upton Sinclair Gubernatorial Race

Kennedy-Nixon Debate


TV (Cable) Amplification

Dean Scream – filmed from the crowd

Dean Scream – full

Dean Scream – not full

Political Commercials

The Modern-Day AstroTurf Campaign?
Q: If we can identify astroturf campaigns, why are they still effective (or are they)?

Discussion leaders : Amber and Linda

  • How to include a PPT ( or upload)
  • How and why to use the “more” tag

Examples, issues

  • Mobs in action: Cooks Source
  • MapLight – Congress
  • Money in WA: PDC
  • FEC on disclosure rules for NFP (breaking – WaPo background)
  • More From OpenSecrets
    For the most part these non-profits, known as 501(c)(4) “social welfare organizations” under the Internal Revenue Code, are allowed to keep their donors secret. That wasn’t the case before 2007; the Federal Election Commission required them to reveal who was funding their “electioneering communications” — essentially issue ads that run within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.
    This FEC changed its policy in 2007, ruling that these groups don’t have to disclose their donors when making this kind of advertisement. Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen filed a lawsuit over the change of policy, and in March a federal judge ruled that the FEC had acted incorrectly. The amicus brief filed by CRP and eight other groups supports that decision now that the case has been appealed to a higher court.

Some sample sites

Election Eye

  • Nope, UWEE is not an example of a democracy – no publication is!
  • Style Guide and Tips (doc) – would have been good to have this a month ago :-/
  • Process :
    • Post draft on and email to me
    • Questions/revisions; then Kathy or writer will move copy to Seattle Times UWEE – Kathy alerts Anita, article marked in progress
    • Respond to Anita’s suggestions – Kathy or Anita marks the article as a “pitch” and notifies David
    • David revises/questions then schedules for publication
  • Story ideas – discuss in pairs then pitch to class
  • Set up accounts for Amber and Mariana [click set up email then complete profile, pick “display name” as FirstName LastName]

FactCheckWA session

  • Six measures on ballot
  • Nothing new on political files; spreadsheetFreePress initiative
  • Redesign team report
  • Fact check “meter” (bad apple?)
  • Work session : who is doing what with regards to initiatives, Election Central
  • Process
    • Need to add a thumbnail to each post that will be featured + pick the “featured” category
    • At least one other person needs to review before going live (does not have to be Kathy) – look for tone, facts, spelling, grammar

Other reading, resources

Goals, deliverables, agenda for Aug 11

  • How to work with campaign finance data (NewsU/Poynter)
  • Second UWEE story should be “in progress” or “in pitch” (or published!)
  • At least one blog post to FCW – this is straight writing
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