Last week I launched GovTrack Insider, a spin-off of GovTrack.us that complements GovTrack with original and syndicated reporting of the U.S. Congress. I’m sending reporters to congressional committee markups to get as early of a peek into the public component of the legislative process as we can.
After five years of running GovTrack.us, I saw a need to move beyond data. As we’ve seen over at the OpenCongress.org blog, reporting is an important part of following the legislative process, staying ahead of the game, and understanding the ramifications of procedural events. GovTrackInsider.com puts a focus on grass-roots reporting of the legislative process.
GovTrack Insider has hired a small team of paid freelance reporters to cover congressional committee meetings. This is the earliest point in the legislative process that we can observe directly, and it’s going to help us get an inside look like we’ve never had before. We’ll also be syndicating coverage from OpenCongress and elsewhere. In all of the articles we run, the focus will be on legislation and policy. We’ll be leaving politics and gossip to the old media.
Insider is an open-access online newspaper, but one with some unusual pages. For articles on many topics you’ll find on the right side a topic dashboard. There you can connect with other readers in a variety of ways, such as a Q&A system, link submission, and a community notebook (a wiki).
In time we’ll be integrating Insider more with GovTrack.us so that if you’re tracking a bill over on GovTrack you’ll get a notice whenever it’s mentioned in an article in GovTrack Insider.
I hope you’ll join us on this experiment. Happy reading.
(GovTrack Insider was built with the help of Josh Sulkin (of FlyOnTime.us fame).)