Phillip Smith

LittleSis and Huffington Post: New era of data-driven investigative journalism

Okay, so I'm weeks behind on this one, but didn't want to skip it because it's such an inspiring project.

Per the LittleSis Web site "LittleSis is an involuntary facebook of powerful Americans, collaboratively edited by people like you." The initiative was co-founded by an old friend from my Billionaires for Bush days, Matthew Skomarovsky, and he's been working on it in some capacity ever since.

The work that they're doing at LittleSis is more than impressive -- it's truly one of the more innovative uses of civic data in the US. And the foundation that LittleSis builds makes it possible for a whole community to get involved in a variety of ways. For me, that has meant having enjoyable conversations with Matthew about everything from technical challenges, to potential partnerships, to finding financial sustainability for the project. (And the funny thing is, I probably get more from those conversations than Matthew does!)

Anyway, on to the reason for this post. My own personal passion around LittleSis is the possibility to leverage LittleSis data in investigative journalism. And low-and-behold, Matthew and his team are blazing a trail in that direction:

We're Partnering with the Huffington Post Investigative Fund

We're proud to announce the undertaking of a joint research project with the Huffington Post Investigative Fund's Health Care Investigative Unit (sign up with the HCIU here). We'll be teaming up with HuffPo Investigative's citizen journalist team in order to report on the Senators and Representatives that receive the most money from health care interest groups.

Go to HuffPo Investigative's group page to learn more about the project and let us know if you want to get involved!

No doubt, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

If you haven't checked out the LittleSis project yet, please do. This is the one "civic data" project that I'll be watching keenly in 2009.


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


Want to launch a local news business? Apply now for the journalism entrepreneurship boot camp

I’m excited to announce that applications are now open again for the journalism entrepreneurship boot camp. And I’m even more excited to ...… Continue reading