ProPublica Announces New 'ChangeTracker' Tool To Reveal Updates & Changes to Government Web Sites
New York, N.Y. (Feb. 20, 2009) -- ProPublica, the investigative newsroom, today launched a new tool called ChangeTracker that will enable users to monitor changes made to the WhiteHouse.gov, Recovery.gov and the upcoming FinancialStability.gov Web sites.
ChangeTracker lets users see exactly what was removed, edited or updated on those sites by showing side-by-side comparisons of sites before and after changes made to them. Should the Obama administration decide to alter the language on a proposal or backtrack on a claim, users of ChangeTracker will immediately see what changed. Users can be notified of the new information via RSS, Twitter (by following @changetracker), daily email or on the ChangeTracker Web page.
"ProPublica's mission is to hold the powerful accountable for their actions," said Scott Klein, ProPublica's director of online development. "ChangeTracker will help us keep an eye on the administration's transparency pledges, and will help reporters, bloggers, government watchdogs and everyday citizens keep watch over the Web sites of their elected officials."
"This is a tool that local news organizations can use to follow the government officials they report on," said Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica's managing editor. "Any city, state or federal reporter can adapt ChangeTracker to their needs. And as a non-profit, we're proud that we can share this feature with other media outlets."
The ChangeTracker methodology will be open sourced so that others can use it on Web sites of their choice. Brian Boyer, a ProPublica intern who helped create the NewsMixer tool while he was a Knight Foundation Scholar at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, created this new project.
ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. With the largest news staff in American journalism devoted solely to investigative reporting, ProPublica is supported entirely by philanthropy and provides the articles it produces, free of charge, both through its own Web site and to leading news organizations selected with an eye toward maximizing the impact of each article.