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Al Shaw

News Applications Developer

Photo of Al Shaw

Al Shaw is a news applications developer at ProPublica. Equal parts designer, developer and reporter, he uses data and interactive graphics to cover environmental issues, natural disasters and politics. A year before Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Shaw was part of a team that produced “Hell and High Water,” which warned of the region's vulnerability to coastal storms. The project won a Peabody Award in 2017. Shaw's project, “Losing Ground,” about the century-long erosion of Louisiana's coast won a Gold Medal from the Society for News Design. His interactive maps surrounding FEMA's response to Hurricane Sandy were honored with the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award. Before joining ProPublica, Shaw was a designer/developer at the political news website Talking Points Memo.

How Disaster Aid Recipients Voted on Sandy Relief

Though the Sandy relief bill passed both the Senate and the House, many members of Congress voted no despite their own states receiving millions of dollars in federal disaster assistance in 2012.

A New Way to 'Check In' on Education Inequality

What Kind of Body Scanner Does Your Airport Have?

Nearly 100 backscatter scanners were removed from major airports recently to speed up lines. See if they're still in use at your airport.

How Much Did Independent Groups Spend Per Vote?

Although an unprecedented amount was spent by outside groups in an effort to influence the 2012 campaign, the candidates with the most super PAC funding were defeated Tuesday. Here's a look at how much outside groups spent per vote in a few of the notable races.

Introducing a Free the Files API

Today we're opening a Free The Files API which will offer developers access to markets, stations, committees and filings data from our crowdsourced app

Get a Free the Files Widget

Free the Files: Help ProPublica Unlock Political Ad Spending

Outside groups are spending millions of dollars hoping to influence political campaigns – but they're hard to track down. Detailed information about spending is locked in documents filed at TV stations across the country. Help us uncover this spending by reviewing documents.

How Some Nonprofit Groups Funnel Dark Money Into Campaigns

Explore how tax-exempt groups active in the 2010 election spent millions of dollars on campaigns, sometimes reporting less political spending to the Internal Revenue Service than they did to election officials.

Graphic: Who are the Super PACs' Biggest Donors?

An interactive chart showing the share of all contributions given by the top ten donors to each of the 12 largest super PACs.

Help Us Track How Politicians Target You

Political campaigns are using increasingly sophisticated methods to target messages to voters, methods that are not at all transparent. We need your help to uncover and understand them.

Updated: Dialysis Facility Tracker

ProPublica obtained data about the performance of more than 5,000 U.S. dialysis clinics. Our Dialysis Facility Tracker allows patients to compare clinics on such measures as patient survival, infection control, hospitalization rates and transplant rates.

Campaign Spending Shows Political Ties, Self-Dealing

So far, top super PACs and presidential candidates have spent more than $306 million in ways that hint at potential coordination. In some cases, this could violate FEC rules. 

A Tangled Web: Who’s Making Money From All This Campaign Spending?

Many have been detailing the vast sums being raised by the presidential candidates and the super PACs supporting them. But where are all those millions being spent?

Untangling a Web of FEC Data

Our Tangled Web graphic shows the 200 biggest recipients of expenditure money from the five major presidential campaigns (Gingrich, Obama, Paul, Romney and Santorum), as well as from major super PACs, from around the middle of 2011 through February, 2012.

Message Machine: Reverse Engineering an Obama Email Campaign

Campaigns are increasingly tailoring their messages -- and their funding requests -- using massive databases of personal information about potential voters. Here are six variations of a Thursday night message from the Obama campaign, based on emails submitted by 190 recipients across the country.

Showing You the Money (Faster)

We pitched in on some new features in the New York Times' Campaign Finance API and its Ruby wrapper, CampaignCash.

With Spotlight on Super PAC Dollars, Nonprofits Escape Scrutiny

Super PAC filings for 2011 reveal few surprises in identifying contributors: Unions give to Democrats, while businesses back Republicans. Much less is known about the social-welfare nonprofits that might play a big role in the election.

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