Application tracks legislators, bills in N.C. General Assembly

Aug 28 2012

July 19, 2012

The Roll Call

The Reese News Lab launched The Roll Call on July 19, 2012 to track the N.C. General Assembly.

The UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Reese News Lab has launched The Roll Call, a Web application that breaks down N.C. General Assembly voting results. It is part of the school’s project that covers North Carolina as a political battleground and host of the Democratic National Convention.

The Roll Call shows voting results by legislator, bill and chamber. It also displays the status of bills and the party identification of legislators.

“Acknowledging the complexity of the legislative process, we managed to present the many stages of a bill’s life in a very straightforward, simple and intuitive application,” said Tony Mantovani, the project’s programmer.

The Bill Tracker, the main component of The Roll Call, breaks a bill’s life into simplified stages and color-codes each stage to indicate its progress.

The application also automatically downloads and processes new data daily from the General Assembly website.

“The Roll Call is an invaluable tool for journalists, researchers and political junkies,” said John Clark, executive director of the Reese News Lab. “I’m eager for the students to take the application even further with additional features.”

“In a single application, our students have set a new standard for journalists trying to compile data, analyze content and create both a technologically savvy and user-friendly presentation of information,” said Susan King, dean of the school. “We want to share this resource with state news leaders.”

WhichWayNC, which began in May 2012 as a part of the Reese News Lab, applies an experimental approach to N.C. political coverage. In order to make politics personal, student journalists display innovative reporting with a “mobile first” design concept.

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