Tuesday, June 9, 2009

NIMSP and Transparency

One of the best examples that the nonprofit sector can play in supporting watchdog journalism comes from our friends at the National Institute for Money in State Politics.

The institute prides itself as the "only publicly available source in the country of comprehensive state-level campaign-finance information." Its painstaking work is the fuel for journalism that may not win a lot of Pulitzer Prizes, but lets elected leaders know that someone is watching and that they are accountable.

Founded in 1999 and based in Helena, Mont., the institute this week celebrates its 10th anniversary with a stakeholders' conference on Flathead Lake. It goal is to continue to make its online data more accessible to users of all kinds - and in the process, create the kind of transparency could have been imagined only a few years ago. It is positioned to become an essential resource to startup journalism nonprofits. As a result, its value to states and communities across the country is certain to grow exponentially. As executive director Ed Bender notes:

The demise of legacy news organizations means our resources are more valuable than ever to the citizens in states that no longer have reporters in Capitol rotundas or in the halls of legislators.

Best of all, it's free.

Here's some info on ways to join the conference remotely:

Please join us in these important and informative discussions: we will broadcast a video feed live via the internet. Find the video on our homepage:

FollowTheMoney.org, or on our
• Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/login.php#/pages/FollowTheMoneyorg/136781845057) (under the boxes tab), or
• direct from our Ustream page (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/Flathead-Convening).
• Send feedback and questions via Twitter, using the hashtag #Transparency09.
(If you aren’t already following us on Twitter, find us at: @MoneyInPolitics.)

View the schedule at: http://www.followthemoney.org/content/flathead-convening.phtml?em=55. If you are unable to view these discussions live, look for them on our webpage after the event.

Please join us for any or all of this conference. If you have any questions about this event you can send them at: http://www.followthemoney.org/Contact/index.phtml?em=55.

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